STI Chart

Infection Name & Prevalence
How Infection Is Transmitted
Common Symptoms
Possible Complications

Chlamydia (bacteria)

About 3 million infected each year in US, more common in under age 25

Contact with genitals & sexual fluids.

Symptoms appear: 7-21 days

Often no symptoms! Occasionally, vaginal/penile discharge & pain in lower abdomen. Burning w/ urination, discomfort. Bleeding btwn periods and/or w/ intercourse.

Smear taken at time of pelvic exam, urethral sample or urine test.

Curable with antibiotics. Partner should be treated with antibiotics as well.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), inflammation of tubes in ♀. Inflammation of epididymis, testicles, & prostate in ♂.

Genital (HSV-2) & Oral Herpes (HSV-1) (virus)

Oral: up to 80% of Americans

Genital: about 25% of Americans

sexual contact/skin-to-skin with or without blisters present.

Symptoms appear: 3 days – 3 weeks after contact. (symptoms recur often)

Cluster of ulcerated painful blisters in oral or genital area. Genital: painful urination & intercourse, discharge, headache, vomiting, fever, body ache, swollen lymph nodes.

Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can infect oral area, genital area or both. Infections from one area can be spread to another.

Visual and microscopic exam & culture. Blood test.

No cure but treatment can decrease severity of symptoms.

Partners should be treated if symptomatic.

May infect baby at birth or during pregnancy causing health problems. Outbreak may cause miscarriage or stillbirth. Symptoms can always recur.

Genital Warts & HPV (virus)

Between 500,000 & 1 million people in US infected each year

Sexual contact, skin-to-skin contact

Symptoms appear: 3 weeks to 8 months after contact.

Often no symptoms. When symptoms: warts w/ cauliflower-like top on genitals. Flat red warts appearing in moist areas: anus, vulva/vagina/cervix, throat. May itch and cause irritation. Some warts are only visible by internal examination.

Genital warts: visual exam

HPV linked to cervical cancer: Pap test of the cervical cells to check for abnormalities, anal exam to check for anal warts.

Vaccine available for uninfected individuals.

Treatment of symptoms. No cure but vaccine for 70% of cervical cancer strains & 90% of strains causing genital warts.

Wart removal by chemical application, freezing, or surgical removal by clinician. Treat partners if symptomatic.

Genital warts can block vaginal, penile, & rectal openings. May infect baby at birth, blocking throat.

HPV strains 16 & 18 are linked to 70% of cervical cancers, as well as cancers of the penis, anus, and vulva.

Gonorrhea (bacteria)

600,000 infected in US each year

Contact with genitals & sexual fluids.

Symptoms appear: 2-30 days

Often no symptoms, especially in ♀! May have genital and/or anal discharge (pus) w/ pain & burning urination. ♀ may have abnormal vaginal discharge or abnormal menses. ♂ may experience increased frequency of urination, ¼ of ♂ are asymptomatic. Oral gonorrhea: may have sore throat, most do not.

Smear, culture and urine test all available.

Curable with antibiotics. Should treat partners as well.

Sterility, scarring, PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). May infect baby at birth causing blindness.

Hepatitis B (parasite)

About 46,000 infections in US each year

Contact with genitals & sexual fluids, sharing needles

Symptoms appear: 6 weeks – 6 months

Often symptoms may be too mild to notice! Weakness, lack of energy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fever, headaches, jaundice, muscle pain, dark urine, light colored stool, and "flu-like" symptoms.

Blood test.

Medical follow-up, rest, and diet. Partner must be treated if symptomatic. There is a vaccine available for Hepatitis B.

Some infected people become chronic carriers; can lead to chronic liver problems or liver cancer.

HIV (virus)

About 40,000 new US cases each year

Contact with genitals & sexual fluids, sharing needles, infected blood, infected breast milk

Symptoms appear: HIV will test positive 3-6 weeks after exposure but symptoms may not appear for years. AIDS, (most advanced stage of HIV) may take 10+ years to develop.

Often no symptoms for years! Early symptoms: weight loss, sores in mouth, sore throat, swollen glands, night sweats.

Blood test or oral swab test. Rapid test gives results in 20 minutes.

No cure. Can be managed w preventive antiretroviral meds (ARVs) and treatment of other secondary infections linked to AIDS.

Partner notification is strongly encouraged.

Pneumonia and other opportunistic infections. Karposi's sarcoma – red/purple skin lesions.

Scabies & Public Lice ("Crabs") (parasites)

Very common so no exact data, millions of people in the US get pubic lice

Sexual contact, other intimate contact, infected bedding, clothing & towels

Symptoms appear: 2-4 weeks

Intense itching on genitals. Crabs and eggs (small nits) attach to pubic hair. Mites/scabies burrow under skin, redness where mites have burrowed.

Visual exam

Medicated shampoo or lotion & careful washing of clothes, towels & sheets.

Partners should be treated.

Secondary skin infections from scratching.

Syphilis (bacteria)

About 36,000 infected in US each year

Contact with genitals & sexual fluids

Symptoms appear: 10 - 90 days

Primary: Chancre (painless sore) on or around penis, vagina, mouth, or anus. Secondary: non-itchy rash, flu-like symptoms, swollen glands.

Blood test

Curable with antibiotics. Should treat partners as well.

If untreated, possible brain damage, paralysis, heart disease later in life. Can cause stillbirth and birth defects.

Trichomoniasis (protozoa)

More than 8 million infected in US each year

Vaginal sex

Symptoms appear: 3-28 days

Often no symptoms! Frothy, smelly discharge with possible blood spotting. Itching in and around the vagina, swelling in the groin, increased frequency of urination – often w/ pain & burning.

Smear-wet preps

Prescribed medication.

Should treat partners as well.

Skin irritation, secondary infections.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) (bacteria)

1 out of 5 women will have a UTI in lifetime. Can infect men but less common.

Bacteria in or around the urethra or bladder.

Burning & irritation w/ urination, increased frequency & urgency of urination even when bladder is empty, lower abdominal/back pain, blood/pus in urine, & fever. Similar symptoms to other STIs so a STI test is important.

Urine test by clinician or urine home test from drugstore.

Antibiotics to treat infection. Over-the-counter UTI pain relievers (Azo or Uristat ) can help symptoms until antibiotics kick in but will not treat or cure a UTI!

If left untreated can cause bladder infection or more serious kidney infection.

Yeast Infection or Candidiasis

Nearly every woman experiences a yeast infection during lifetime.

Overgrowth of normal vaginal candida yeast.

Itchy vulva, vagina, and unusual discharge. Men can get yeast infections too – redness and irritation of the penis and/or scrotum.

Yeast infections are not contagious but contact w/ partner may stimulate growth.

Over-the-counter home test or test done by clinician

Prescription medication from clinician or over-the-counter antifungal vaginal cream: Monistat or generic brand at drugstore.

Chronic or reoccurring infections may occur if not treated. Constant irritation can lead to secondary infections.

Student Sexuality Information Service Training Manual 2010 - 2011
Adapted from PPLM SECS Manual, 2009
Data from:, document revised April 2010