Could I have an STD and not know?
I'm 25 years old, male. I've had some unprotected sex. Could I have an STD without symptoms? Would I just not know even if I had something?
Everyone that has unprotected sex is at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Unfortunately for reasons of public health, men and women may be completely without any symptoms after contracting a STD. With no symptoms, men and women are more likely to continue engaging in unprotected sex and are therefore more likely to transmit the disease to others. While diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia may cause symptoms such as penile discharge, testicular tenderness or burning with urination, many men may not experience any of these symptoms. Other STDs may cause different non-specific symptoms and may not be thought of as caused by a STD. One such example of this case is transmission of HIV, in which the acute transmission may cause a flu-like illness associated with fever, rash and diarrhea (but not painful urination or penile discharge). If you have had unprotected sex and you and your partner have not been seen by a physician recently, it would be advisable to seek out your primary care physician. Blood tests for HIV and hepatitis can be done, and urine tests can be used to test for the presence of gonorrhea and chlamydia (these latter urine tests have replaced the use of the more invasive urethral swabs).
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.