In spite of the educational efforts of many organizations, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) still occur in large numbers in the U.S. It's estimated that 20 million new STD infections are reported each year with more than 110 million people being treated annually, notes Livescience. Of the 6 major STDs reported, most have few symptoms, and they often don't show up for days after contact. If you are sexually active, you need to recognize the signs of these top 6 STDs. Even though they aren't easy to spot, they are still killers.

Shared Symptoms

There are a number of symptoms common to STDs, when they appear at all. If you have any of the following signs, get yourself to a doctor or one of the clinics that specialize in such diseases for a checkup before the disease becomes life-threatening.

  • sores around the mouth, anus, or genitals
  • swelling or a rash around the genitals
  • any unusual discharge or bleeding from the genitals
  • persistent itching around the genitals
  • pain when urinating or during ejaculation
  • recurring fever and chills not associated with a cold or flu
  • weight loss, frequent diarrhea

In addition to these common symptoms, these STDs may have their own, unique set of symptoms.

Genital Herpes

These are caused by a virus, of which there are two types. The type 1 herpes simplex virus affects the lips and soft tissues in the mouth. Type 2 occurs in the genital area. Genital herpes rarely shows symptoms, but both types can cause ulcers or blisters in warm, moist areas. Both viruses stay with you for life and can reoccur at any time.

Genital Warts

These are caused by the human papillomavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the most common STD reported in the U.S. Most people never have symptoms, but some may actually develop the warts on their genitals. These can go away on their own, but if they don't, they can cause cancer in the cervix, penis, and rectum.

Hepatitis B

Also caused by a virus, this disease infects the liver, causing loss of liver function, cancer, and death. It is passed between people through blood or semen. Some people experience flu-like symptoms, while others may have abdominal pain and develop a yellow tint to their skin. The symptoms can be treated, but there is no cure for a hepatitis B infection.


This is one of the easiest STDs to spread, because there are rarely any symptoms. When symptoms do show up, it's weeks after contact and can include:

  • painful discharge from the genitals
  • painful urination
  • itching around the genitals

Chlamydia is caused by a bacteria and can be treated successfully with antibiotics.


This is a very contagious bacterial disease. Small sores may appear on the mouth or genitals. In severe cases, a rash may appear on the palms of the hands. By then, the disease is damaging your nerves, brain, and heart tissues. Antibiotics will treat syphilis if caught early. Once it has damaged the heart, brain, and nervous system, those affects are permanent.


This is a bacterial infection and can occur in various mucous membranes throughout the body such as:

  • reproductive tract
  • uterus
  • urethra

A few people will experience symptoms such as:

  • discharge from the genitals
  • abdominal pain
  • painful urination
  • burning throat and itchy eyes

Antibiotics can treat gonorrhea in early stages. If allowed to progress, the infection can affect the reproductive abilities of a person.

These 6 well-known diseases continue to be a threat to people. Regular checkups by your doctor for any signs of infection can prevent it from becoming serious. If you spot any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor, such as at Entira Family Clinics, before you transmit an STD during your next sexual encounter.