6 Common STDs and How To Get Tested

If you think you have been exposed to an STD, it’s important to get tested to help keep yourself and your partner safe

blood samples for tests

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common diseases that can affect anyone. While treatment can help treat all STDs, practicing safe sex can help you avoid exposure in the first place. Let’s take a look at the symptoms of six common STDs and how you can get tested.

6 Common STDs

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) affects both men and women. Although it does not usually cause symptoms, the affected person can get genital warts. To help prevent HPV, the most important thing you can do is get vaccinated.


Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria that affect your genitals, rectum, and throat. The disease might not show any symptoms. It can take from 2 to 21 days from the day you get infected to see any symptoms. Once symptoms start, you may begin to feel burning and itching. You may also feel pain when urinating and develop a smelly discharge. Your lymph glands might also swell. If you notice these signs, visit your doctor or schedule an STD test.


Chlamydia is another common STI that affects both men and women. It is caused by bacteria. During birth, a mother can pass the bacteria to their child. Chlamydia doesn’t necessarily cause symptoms. If symptoms do occur, you might feel pain when urinating and have a smelly discharge. Women might feel pain in their pelvis. If you are a man, you may have pain in your testes or they may swell.


Herpes is caused by a virus known as HSV. There are two types – HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 causes cold sores around your mouth and can be transmitted through saliva. If you HSV-2, you may develop painful sores or blisters around your genitals. The virus spreads very fast and enters your body through tiny wounds, pores, or fluids. Herpes cannot be cured, but medications can help prevent outbreaks. The best way to protect yourself from this virus is to use safe sex.


Syphilis is a rare STD caused by bacteria and affects both men and women. It can be transmitted by sexual contact. When pregnant, a sick mother can pass the disease to their child. This disease takes time to spread and grow and occurs in stages. When signs first show up, you may notice a painless sore. After that, you might get rashes and signs of the flu. If it is not treated, it can affect your heart, brain, and your nervous system and cause permanent damage.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV is caused by a virus that attacks your immune system. Specifically, it attacks your CD4 cells (T cells) which fight infections. This virus can be acquired through body fluids like blood, semen, and vaginal fluids. Over time, your immune system becomes weaker. Due to this, your body can contract illnesses easily.  If not treated, HIV can develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

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How To Get Tested for Common STDs

If you think you have been exposed to an STD, it’s important to get tested to help keep yourself and your partner safe. It gives you a chance to get treatment before the disease becomes worse or you spread it to another person.

You can get these tests several ways:

  • At your doctor’s office
  • At a specialized clinic or at a Planned Parenthood location
  • An at home STD test in LA and other cities with a concierge doctor who can perform your test at home.


Testing helps you to know if you have an STD so you can take precautions to prevent passing it on to others. Even if there are no symptoms, tests can be done to detect infection.

If you receive a positive diagnosis, you can seek treatment for your symptoms or the root cause of the STD, depending on the results.

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