Even if you don’t think of yourself as a person who has sex, it’s still possible to have an STD. If you’re infected with one or more STDs but are asymptomatic (that is, showing no outward signs), there’s a good chance that you’ll never know you have an STD unless you get tested for it—and even then, some STDs can take years before symptoms appear. So how do these sneaky infections get passed around? Let’s find out!
STD with No Symptoms
Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs in the United States. It’s caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis, and it can be transmitted through anal or vaginal sex. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people who have chlamydia don’t know they have it because they don’t experience symptoms.
Symptoms of chlamydia in males include:
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Discharge from the tip of the penis that is watery or white/clear, sometimes with a yellow color to it
- Painful testicles (that can be felt on both sides)
Symptoms of chlamydia in females include:
- Yellow-greenish discharge from vagina that may be foamy or smelly and odorless
- Pain in pelvic area or lower abdomen between periods; pain during intercourse; abdominal swelling; fever; nausea/vomiting
To the untrained eye, these symptoms may seem like a UTI. Best to get an STD test done if experiencing any of these symptoms so that you can seek proper treatment.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system. When gonorrhea is left untreated, it can cause infertility in men and women. This can be devastating for anyone trying to have children, but especially so for young people who haven’t yet started trying.
The good news is that there are safe ways to avoid STDs like gonorrhea, and they’re easy to learn! The best part? They’re free!
- What is hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B can cause lifelong health problems and even death.
- How do you get hepatitis B?
You can get hepatitis B when blood, semen, or other body fluids infected with the virus enter your eyes, nose, or mouth. You are most likely to get an STD like this if you have sex with someone who has it. A pregnant woman with an asymptomatic STD can also pass on the virus to her unborn baby during pregnancy or childbirth.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STD, with an estimated 20 million people in the US infected every year. It’s transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and can cause genital warts and cervical cancer. While it’s possible to have HPV without exhibiting any symptoms, many do experience some form of them—from mild to severe. While some people may never know they were infected, others may notice the following:
- Small blisters or sores on the genitals
- A discharge from their penis or vagina
At this point it’s important not to panic: many of these symptoms are related to other STDs that you don’t want around either! But if your symptoms are persistent or severe enough that they affect your daily life (for example, causing pain during intercourse), then it might be worth visiting a doctor or gynecologist for proper diagnosis and treatment options.
HIV/AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease (potentially asymptomatic STD) that can be spread through sexual contact, including vaginal and anal sex. It can also be spread by sharing needles to inject drugs, or blood transfusions. If you’re HIV positive, it’s important to talk with your doctor about ways to protect yourself and others against getting the virus.
HIV can take up to 10 years before any symptoms appear. Many people who don’t know they have HIV don’t get tested for the virus until several years after exposure—or even longer. That’s why it’s so important for everyone ages 13-64 to get an HIV test at least once in their lifetime if they have any risk factors for getting infected with HIV (for example: unprotected sex with someone who has had unprotected sex with someone else who has unprotected sex). The only way to know whether you are infected is by undergoing a blood test for antibodies that show infection from the virus itself—and testing is free at all Planned Parenthood health centers! This means there is no excuse not knowing your status!
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has been around for centuries and was once thought to be incurable. However, today it is curable with antibiotics.
Syphilis can have many non-specific symptoms and signs, which makes it hard to diagnose without tests. One in 10 people who are infected don’t show any symptoms at all! Because of this, syphilis may go undiagnosed for years as it progresses through its stages and causes serious damage to your body if left untreated.
You can be infected with STDs and not even know it.
Asymptomatic STDs are those that don’t show symptoms. If you’re infected with an STD, the virus or bacteria can still be passed to others through sexual contact—even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Everyone is at risk of getting an STD, but some groups of people are more likely than others to experience complications from them.
Young people are more likely to have an STD than older adults because they have more sexual partners and may not use condoms consistently enough to prevent infections.
If you think you are infected with an asymptomatic STD, it’s important to get std tested. You should also get tested if you have had unprotected sex or if there is a possibility that someone may have been exposed to your body fluids. While there is no cure for STDs, many of them can be treated so that symptoms go away and the infection does not spread. We hope this article has helped clarify some of the more common asymptomatic STDs and what they mean for your health!
Medically Reviewed by Gill Sellick, MBChB on September 21, 2022
Author: Esther Jordan
Esther Jordan has been a writer ever since she can remember. She has always loved the free gift of self-expression through journaling, creating stories, and sharing life experiences in front of audiences. Public speaking and creating content has been a strong suit of hers since high school. Immediately after college, she received a paid position as an search engine optimization (SEO) writer in 2010 when SEO was still a very brick and mortar concept for a lot of small businesses. It was a time of do-it-yourself websites and online magic that everyone wanted and either referred to it as SEO or pay-per-click (PPC).