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It can be hard to tell if you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Many STIs do not always show symptoms. Often, people who pass an STI to a sexual partner do not know that they have an infection. The only way to know whether or not you have an STI is to get tested.
Symptoms of an STI may include:
- Discharge from penis
- Changes in vaginal discharge
- Bumps, sores or a rash on the genital area (penis, vagina or anus)
- Blood in the urine
- Burning or unusual feeling when urinating
- Pain in the pelvis or testicles
- Pain during sexual activity and intercourse
If you or your sexual partners have any of these symptoms, it is important to see a health care provider. Getting tested for STIs is confidential, easy, and usually free. Untreated STIs can lead to serious problems like pelvic inflammatory disease or epididymitis. Having an STI also increases the possibility of getting HIV.
When you have an STI but there are no symptoms, this is called being ‘asymptomatic’. Even with no symptoms, a person can still pass on an STI. If you think you might have an STI but are not showing symptoms, make sure to tell your health care provider why you think you need to get tested.
Looking up symptoms on the Internet
The internet can be a good source of information about sexual health and STIs, but trying to figure out if you have an STI from the internet can be a problem. Pictures typically show STIs in an acute phase with very obvious symptoms. Your symptoms may not be visible or may be similar to other problems that need different treatments.
Sometimes looking up information on the internet can increase your anxiety. This may be a sign you have information overload. If you are not getting any answers and are worried, see a health care provider or ask us.