Symptoms Ulcers or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area, pain or burning when urinating, discharge from the penis, unusual or odorous vaginal discharge, unusual vaginal bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, pain and swelling of the lymph nodes, particularly in the groin, but sometimes more generalized, pain in the lower abdomen. The time elapsed from infection until symptoms manifest, if any, varies widely and depends on the specific pathogen and the individual. All too often, symptoms don't appear or go unnoticed. Despite this, you should never ignore an STI.
If left untreated, many STDs can progress and cause permanent and irreversible damage. Keep in mind that an infected person is still able to transmit the infection to others, regardless of any symptoms. Depending on the specific pathogen (disease-causing organism), symptoms of STDs may appear within four to five days or four to five weeks. Some infections can cause noticeable symptoms even months after the initial infection.
Each STD has its own incubation period. In the case of some STDs, the body starts producing antibodies and symptoms in just a few days. For others, it may take weeks or months for symptoms to appear. These are the intervals of incubation periods for some of the most common STDs.
STDs develop when several bacteria, viruses, or parasites infect the body. People share these microorganisms through body fluids during sexual activity, usually during vaginal, oral, or anal sex. STDs, such as syphilis, can be transmitted to the fetus. Once your symptoms go away, you may not have any more symptoms for many years, even if the infection stays in your body.
If you've ever been treated for STDs, the CDC recommends that you get tested for HIV if you have any symptoms of STDs, even if you don't have a high risk of contracting HIV. Since most STI tests use antibodies (not symptoms) as a marker of disease status, having symptoms is not necessarily a reliable marker of infection. If you have any of the above symptoms and are concerned that you may have an STD, PhysicianOne Urgent Care is available 7 days a week for high-quality urgent care, at a fraction of the cost of the emergency room, including testing for STDs.