It is always advisable to practice safe physical intimacy, which helps avoid many complications including unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Talking of the latter, while some like herpes manifest shortly after contracting the disease, some may take months and years to show up and infections like chlamydia are extremely hard to detect.
So, if you think you could have contracted an STD from someone, be sure to watch out for the following signs and symptoms.
Vaginal or penile discharge: If you are experiencing anything unusual in terms of discharge (color, consistency, or odor change) from your genital organs after unprotected sex, it is always advisable to get it tested. The risk is higher if you are not sure of your partner’s history.
Sores or lesions on the genitals: Whatever the size, shape or color, if you are seeing sores on the genitals, especially after doubtful sexual relations, visit your doctor and have a frank chat.
Vaginal bleeding: If there is abnormal bleeding which is not normal for you, it could be a warning sign of an STD and it is better to get it checked.
Painful sex: Again, if this is abnormal for you, it is time for a checkup. Note that this would usually be combined with one or more of the above symptoms and would not be the only issue you are having.
Testicular pain: Pain in the testicles which is not normal for you could be another indication of an STD. This would not be the only symptom and would be accompanied by other symptoms mentioned above.
Pain in the lower abdomen: Most STDs in men and women also have lower abdominal pain, in the pelvic/scrotal area.
History: If your partner has had a history of STDs in the last one year, then the risk of you developing an STD is quite high. In such cases, it is always advisable to get it tested. This will help clear your doubt plus control the disease at an early stage.
Inability to conceive: Some STDs can cause infertility and so inability to conceive may require ruling out STDs
Manifestation of symptoms: For more severe conditions like HIV, the symptoms manifest after a long time and include general symptoms of immuno suppression like fatigue, tiredness and slowly develop specific symptoms like oral candidiasis and other infections.
When in doubt, do not hesitate to get yourself or your partner tested. There is no reason for embarrassment and avoiding tests in the early days can prove very dear if the disease progresses to advanced stages. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a sexologist.