ConditionChlamydiaGonorrhoeaSyphilisGenital wartsGenital herpesTrichomoniasis
 Type Bacterial Bacterial Bacterial Viral Viral Parasitic
Typical symptoms in women*Urinary or abdominal pain, more severe periods, bleeding following sex or between periods, or vaginal discharge.Urinary or abdominal pain or burning, heavier periods, bleeding after intercourse or between periods (rare), or vaginal discharge (green or yellow).

Primary stage (within 10-90 days of infection): a chancre on the genitals.

Secondary stage (within a few weeks of primary signs disappearing): sore throat, rash, swollen glands, small wart-like genital skin growths.

Small fleshy bumps on the vagina, cervix, anal region or upper thighs.Blisters and sores on the genitals, anus or thighs, urinary pain, vaginal discharge.Changes in the consistency, smell or colour of vaginal discharge, pain during sex or urination, abdominal pain, or feelings of irritation around the vagina.
Complications**Pelvic inflammatory disease, cervicitis, infertility.Pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility.Tertiary stage (months or years following infection): stroke, paralysis, permanent loss of sight or hearing, heart failure, dementia, loss of motor function, or death.Urinary difficulty, problems during pregnancy.

Issues during pregnancy, including an increased risk of miscarriage.

Sometimes sores can become infected with bacteria, which can cause the infection to spread to other parts of the body.

Premature birth in women who are pregnant, or an increased risk of contracting other infections.
Typical symptoms in men*Pain during urination, discharge from the penis, or testicular pain.Pain or burning during urination, inflamed foreskin, testicular pain (rare), white, yellow or green-coloured penile discharge. As above.The appearance of small fleshy bumps on or around the penis, scrotal or anal region, or the upper thighs.Blisters or sores on or around the penis, anus or thighs, pain during urination. Penile discharge, increased urinary frequency or pain, swelling and inflammation around the tip of the penis, pain during sex.
Complications**Urethritis, epididymitis, infertility.Testicular or prostatic infection, drop in fertility.As above.Urethral pain, causing problems when passing water.Spread of the infection if the sores become infected with bacteria.Increased susceptibility to other STIs
Can it be symptomless?Yes. Approximately 50% of male cases and 80% of female cases present no visible signs.Yes. Roughly 10% of male cases and 50% of female cases are symptomless.Not usually but the symptoms of an initial infection can be mild, and may be easy to miss.Yes. The HPV infection responsible can present no symptoms.Yes. Symptoms may not become apparent until some time after the infection has been contracted.Yes. Up to 50% of all cases in both sexes may be symptomless.
Transmission methodUnprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex, or sharing of sex toys. Unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex, or sharing of sex toys.Contact with a sore, through vaginal, anal or oral sex.Skin-to-skin contact.Skin-to-skin contact.Vaginal sex, or the sharing of sex toys.
Diagnosis methodUrine sample and a swab.Urine sample (men) and a vaginal or cervical swab (women).Examination, blood test and a swab.Examination of the infected area.Visual examination, and in some cases a swab.Physical examination, which may be followed up with a urine sample or a swab.
Curable?Yes.Yes.Yes.The virus itself is not curable, but warts can be treated.No. But activations can be limited with treatment and sent into remission.Yes.
Treated with ***First line treatment is either Azithromycin as a one-off dose, or a one week course of Doxycycline.The first line treatment is a combination of antibiotics given in clinic: ceftriaxone given as an injection, in addition to Azithromycin given as a one-off oral tablet.The first line is an intramuscular injection of benzathine benzylpenicillin, which can only be administered in clinic.Topical antiviral cream or solution, such as Warticon, Aldara or Condyline.Oral antiviral tablets or topical creams or solutions, such as aciclovir, valtrex, famvir or valaciclovir.A course of antibiotics such as Metronidazole or Tinidazole. 

* - This is not a complete list of possible symptoms. Further information can be found on the information pages for these conditions.
** - Again, this is not a comprehensive list of possible complications. Refer to our other pages for more.
*** - Some bacterial infections have developed a resistance to some types of antibiotics, therefore in some cases a combination of treatments may be issued.

Page last reviewed:  27/03/2019