Sexually active men and women can contract sexually transmitted infections (STIs) without knowing it. According to CDC, 20 million new STD infections occur each year in the U.S. So, it’s essential to go for regular checkup and be faithful to your partner. It’s important to note that condom can protect you against all STIs.
READ ALSO: 5 STIs That Cannot Be Prevented By Condoms
Some STIs can be symptomatic, meaning they show signs after a short while. A person can have HIV for a while before symptoms start to appear. However, there are a few STIs that are known for being asymptomatic, meaning a person will never know they have such diseases until they’ve spread.
Here are the STIs that don’t have obvious symptoms.
Chlamydia, also known as “silent infection”, mostly affect women under 25. Most women don’t show any symptoms when affected by this infection.
According to Meike L Uhler, M.D, at the Fertility Centers of Illinois “burning sensation during urination or abnormal vaginal discharge may occur several weeks after sex with an infected partner.”
Symptoms of chlamydia can be mistaken for other infection especially when the infection has lasted long and is moving up the urinary tract and into the body. Some symptoms may include;
- Bleeding between periods
- Changes in vaginal discharge
- Pain during urination
- Pain during sex
- Abdominal pain
- Lower back pain
Chlamydia can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if left untreated for long.
Chlamydia increases the risk of a woman getting HIV from an infected partner. Chlamydia can also cause premature birth and can be passed to a baby during delivery, causing eye infection or pneumonia,” Uhler explains.
If diagnosed early, chlamydia can be easily treated with antibiotics before it causes any damage.
Human papilloma virus (HPV)
Condoms cannot protect against HPV. Odds are a person may have HPV at some point in their life whether or not they realize it. You could be carrying it and passing it and not have any physical signs. That’s because some strains cause genital warts, but many others don’t. If you’re under 30, HPV won’t be a part of your routine STI testing, because it’s so common and often goes away after some time. If you’re over 30, routine testing is recommended along with your pap smear. Some strains of HPV can cause cervical cancer, which is why getting a regular pap smear is so important.
READ ALSO: 6 Things You May Not Know About HPV
Genital herpes affects about one out of every six people between 14 and 49 years old in the U.S., according to CDC. Genital herpes isn’t mostly in form of painful, red blisters. In fact, most people with herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) are never diagnosed. Herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) is the strain most often implicated in genital herpes, and herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1) is the one that causes mouth sores—but HSV-1 can cause genital herpes if it’s spread from mouth to genitals during oral sex. While herpes is most infectious during an active breakout, it can still be spread when there are no sores present. Condoms can’t protect you from the virus if it’s present on skin that isn’t covered by the condom.
Gonorrhea is most common in sexually active adults under 25. Most people will never experience symptoms. “While they are two different diseases, chlamydia and gonorrhea are commonly diagnosed together,” Uhler notes, and the mild symptoms (if they ever show up) are similar: breakthrough bleeding, vaginal discharge, and burning and pain that can easily be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Typically, these are symptoms of the bacterial infection spreading further from where it originated.
READ ALSO: 7 STDs You Can Contract From Having Oral Sex
If left untreated for long, gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, scarring, and damage to the reproductive organs. It can also increase your risk of getting HIV, and can cause deadly infections that affects the blood, brain, heart, and joints. Gonorrhea during pregnancy raises the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, and serious health complications (like blindness and blood infection) for the newborn. The right antibiotics can be administered to cure gonorrhea.
Conclusion: Engage only in safe sex and get tested regularly so as to catch any infection early for timely treatment.
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