Interactive STD/STI Symptom Checker
Using our completely anonymous STD/STI symptom checker and STD test recommender is as easy as answering a few questions. This is a dynamic tool that generates the next question based on your previous answers. Answer these questions about your sexual behavior as best as you can. Always keep in mind that an online quiz is not a substitute for in-person medical advice. This STD quiz is meant to empower you with knowledge about your STD risk and which STIs you should consider being tested for.***
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Is an STD or STI?
A sexually transmitted disease (STD) and a sexually transmitted infection (STI) both refer to infections predominately spread through sexual contact with an infected person. However, other means of transmission exist, such as intravenous drug use or an infected mother passing something on to her child through pregnancy and childbirth.
What Are Some Common STDs?
One of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, spread though various forms of sexual contact. People with this STD may show little to no signs or symptoms, which is why an STD test is absolutely necessary to know for sure the state of your sexual health. When symptoms are present, they can occur as itching or a burning sensation while urinating. Specific symptoms for men include penile discharge while symptoms for women include abnormal vaginal discharge. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to infertility and/or developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Fortunately, gonorrhea is treatable.
Another common STD, chlamydia is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Like gonorrhea, chlamydia can also be asymptomatic (symptomless). When signs do appear, they can include painful urination as well as unusual discharge. If left untreated, women can experience severe complications, such as infertility. Although rare, men can also become infertile if left with an untreated infection long enough. Chlamydia is easily treated.
Syphilis is a disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It is often spread through sexual contact, but other means of transmission also exist. A mother can pass the infection to her child during pregnancy and childbirth, for example; this transmission is known as congenital syphilis. Syphilis occurs in stages, and it is curable if caught early enough. Symptoms of syphilis often mimic those of other diseases, so getting tested is the only way to know with complete confidence if emerging symptoms like sores and rashes are syphilis or something else.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV refers to a group a viruses that can either remain asymptomatic for years and clear up on their own, or develop into serious health problems. Noticeable symptoms include genital warts. HPV can also cause several types of cancer in both men and women. Fortunately, vaccination is available to protect against some prominent strains of HPV.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
BV is a bacterial infection of the vagina. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BV is the single most common vaginal infection for women between 15 and 44 years old. Symptoms of BV are similar to symptoms of other STDs, and include foul smells from the vaginal area, discharge, itching, and painful urination. However, many people experience no symptoms.
Trich (pronounced “trick”) is an extremely common STD, with the CDC reporting 3.7 million confirmed cases in the United States alone. Symptoms of this STD are similar to other STDs, with itching or pain coming from the genital area, pain occurring during urination, and unusual discharge produced by the penis or vagina. This STD can also be asymptomatic. Trich is fortunately easily treated.
HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). After initial infection, flu-like symptoms can occur for a brief period of time. HIV symptoms are often minimal or absent after this early stage. If HIV progresses to AIDS, the immune system becomes severely compromised. Infections that healthy people can normally fight off can be fatal for those who have AIDS.
No cure for HIV/AIDS currently exists. However, with proper antiretroviral treatment, it is possible to significantly reduce not only the chances of HIV progressing to AIDS, but also the chances of passing HIV on to someone else. That is why it is so important to get tested if infection is suspected.
Hepatitis refers to liver inflammation and can be caused by viral infections. In the United States, the most common forms of hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, and C. Symptoms of hepatitis include abdominal pain, off-color urine and stool, changes in appetite, and fever. While many common STDs like gonorrhea or chlamydia can be screened using a urine sample, a blood test is needed to screen for this infection. There are vaccines available for hepatitis A and B but not for C.
There are actually two strands of the herpes simplex virus, type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 refers to what is commonly known as oral herpes. Genital herpes is commonly caused by HSV-2. Herpes symptoms can be quite mild for both strands, which is why testing is necessary for an accurate diagnosis.
What Are Risk Factors for Contracting an STD?
Anyone can contract an STD or HIV, even from just a single sexual encounter. Some risk factors increase the likelihood of catching an STD, including:
- Not using a condom correctly
- Not using a condom at all
- Abusing drugs and/or alcohol
- Having multiple sexual partners
Some people make the mistake of thinking that condoms are only necessary for penile-vaginal sex. That isn’t the case! Condoms should be used for protection with any and all types of sexual intercourse, not just vaginal; anal and oral sex can also transmit infections, for example. A new condom should be used for each new sexual act. Birth control should also not be used as a form of STD protection.
What Are Some Ways to Prevent Catching an STD?
There are some lifestyle factors that lower the chances of catching something, including:
- Receiving an HPV vaccine
- Receiving Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines
- Properly using condoms
- Being in a monogamous relationship with a healthy partner
- Abstaining from sexual contact
I Feel Fine. Why Should I Get STD Testing?
The truth is that there is no sure-fire way to know if you have an STD without getting tested. Looking for signs and symptoms alone is no way to know your sexual health, as many infections can lie dormant for a long time, or simply show little to no symptoms at all. Not knowing your sexual-health status not only puts you at risk for long-term health complications, but it also means you risk unknowingly passing something on to someone else.
Don’t let the fear of getting bad news stop you from getting tested. You owe it to yourself and your partner(s) to know the truth.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
———National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
———National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
———National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Cook RL, St George K, Lassak M, et al. Screening for Chlamydia trachomatis infection in college women with a polymerase chain reaction assay. Clin Infect Dis 1999; 28:1002.
Gaydos CA, Howell MR, Pare B, et al. Chlamydia trachomatis infections in female military recruits. N Engl J Med 1998; 339:739.
HIV.gov. Preventing Sexual Transmission of HIV. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
STD Symptom Checker Disclaimer
***Disclaimer: This article and STD Symptom Checker are not meant to substitute medical advice from a trained and licensed medical professional. Their intended purpose is to give you an idea of your risk factors for contracting an STD.