how can you tell if you have an STD?

Some STDs have symptoms, but many don’t, so they can go unnoticed for a long time. For example, it can take more than 10 years for HIV symptoms to show up, and infections like herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea can be spread even if there are no symptoms. That said, there are some common symptoms of STDs, like itching, a burning sensation when you pee, and unusual and bad-smelling discharge. If you’re noticing any of these, then you need to see a health care provider right away.

But with or without visible symptoms, the only way to know for sure if you have an infection is to get tested.  So if you’re sexually active, getting tested regularly for STDs is really important, regardless of whether or not you’re noticing any unusual symptoms.

There are different tests for different STDs, so you can talk to your health care provider to decide what tests make the most sense for you. You can also use this tool to figure out if you should get tested.

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