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While sexually transmitted diseases, or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are primarily acquired through sexual contact, they may also be transferred through shared needles, transfusions, and even from mother to child. Many STIs do not cause symptoms, which means it is possible to get a sexually transmitted disease from someone who appears perfectly healthy. Many may not even be aware that they have an STI.

If left untreated, not only can STIs be spread to others, but they can develop into life-threatening infections. If you suspect you have an STI, it is important to seek testing and treatment from your physician. (1)


  • Chlamydia
    Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can cause abdominal pain, discharge from the penis or vagina, and painful urination. Men may experience testicular pain, while women may have pain during vaginal intercourse.
  • Gonorrhea
    Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection. While symptoms appear two to ten days after exposure, it is possible for some people to be infected for months before signs or symptoms occur. These symptoms can include: bloody discharge from penis or vagina, painful urination, and anal itching. In addition, men may have swollen testicles, and women may have abnormal menstrual bleeding.
  • Trichomoniasis
    Trichomoniasis is caused by a microscopic parasite that may cause no symptoms in men. However, it can infect the urinary tract in men, while it typically infects the vagina in women. Symptoms may include itching, irritation, odor, pain during intercourse and pain during urination.
  • HIV
    HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, can lead to AIDS. While HIV may not immediately cause symptoms, many of those infected develop flu-like symptoms two to six weeks after being infected.
  • Genital Herpes
    This highly contagious STI can enter the body through small breaks or tears in mucous membranes or skin. Symptoms may be mild, or there may be no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include red bumps, blisters or open sores in the genital or anal regions, which cause pain and itching.
  • Genital Warts
    This is caused by the human papilomavirus. Symptoms include: itching or discomfort, bleeding with intercourse, small swellings in the genital area, or several warts close together.
  • Hepatitis
    Hepatitis A, B, and C are viral infections that can cause serious damage to the liver. Symptoms include: nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, dark urine, fatigue, and jaundice (the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.) Sexual transmission is one of several ways that a person can get hepatitis.
  • Syphilis
    Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can not only affect the genitals, but it can also affect the brain and heart. There are several signs and symptoms that occur in four stages. These symptoms can include swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, a reddish brown rash, and sores in the genital area. Because syphilis can develop into a serious, life-threatening illness, it is important to be tested and treated by a doctor.

Read more about Sexual Health on our blog. 



Cary Medical Group  |  530 New Waverly Place, Suite 200, Cary, NC 27518  |  office: 919.859.5955  |  fax: 919.859.5659
Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. |  Saturday Sick Clinic (by appointment only): 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at our Raleigh Adult Medicine location. (map)

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