Chlamydia, Herpes and more STDs: the signs and symptoms

There are many different sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but you can also have something very harmless that is not an STD at all. If you have complaints such as a burning sensation in the genitals, pain during urination, warts on the genitals, pain or itching in the vagina, it is always wise to go to the doctor, even though it may be harmless. Below you will find more information about the different STDs, such as chlamydia, herpes, genital warts, HIV and more.

  • How do you get an STD?
  • Types of STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)


How do you get an STD?

By having sex without a condom you run the risk of contracting an STD. It does not matter whether this was through vaginal, anal or oral contact. Using sex toys together without cleaning them in between is also a risk.
The sexually transmitted diseases HIV, Syphilis and Hypatitis B can also be transmitted through blood contact. These diseases can be transmitted by unhygienically placing tattoos, piercings or using drug paraphernalia such as needles and syringes.

General symptoms of an STD

  • An irritated or burning sensation in the genitals
  • Pain during or after urination or urinating small amounts
  • Increased or different discharge from the penis, vagina or anus. Everything that is different, smell, color and composition can be a signal.
  • Spots around or on the penis, vagina, anus or mouth, such as sores, warts or blisters
  • Itching around the genitals
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
  • Vague pain in the lower abdomen
  • Pain in the balls
  • Pain during sexual intercourse, bleeding outside menstruation

Please note: most women do not notice a possible STD. If in doubt, it is better to have yourself tested once too often. If you prefer to be tested anonymously, you can do so with the so-called STD policy in the Netherlands.

Types of STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)


Men usually notice this more quickly than women. Men usually have some discharge from the urethra as their first complaint, often one to several weeks after contracting chlamydia. Urinating can also hurt. About 25% of infected men don’t notice anything at all and can infect someone with Chlamydia again without knowing it!
A woman does not have to notice anything at first. Chlamydia rises to the fallopian tubes where a fallopian tube infection develops and can spread to the abdominal cavity. This is accompanied by fever and pain in the lower abdomen. If the woman waits too long to take antibiotics and neglects the fallopian tube infection, the fallopian tube can become blocked and this may lead to infertility or an ectopic pregnancy! So go to a doctor on time and get treated for the complaints.

Genital Warts

Genital warts occur after an infection with a virus. The warts have a somewhat fleshy, soft and skin-colored appearance. Sometimes they are flat, small or somewhat larger. Sometimes there is only one, but often they occur in groups. The warts sometimes appear after a few weeks, but sometimes only after a year.

Genital herpes

Burning blisters on the skin and mucous membranes of the penis, vagina and anus are caused by the Herpes Genitalis virus. The first blisters appear within a week after infection and once infected, the virus remains in the body forever. So be aware of the fact that you can also infect others. In addition to the blisters, people sometimes also get fever and muscle pain. Both men and women can experience pain and burning when urinating. Women are also likely to experience itching and discharge from the vagina, swollen glands and blisters filled with clear fluid. In men, blisters also develop on the outside of the penis and in or around the anus. Within one to four weeks, the painful blisters heal without scarring.


This transmissible disease is caused by bacteria and can be contracted through unprotected sexual contact in the urethra in both men and women, during anal contact in the anus and it also occurs in the vagina. Infections can also develop in the throat through oral sexual contact. Gonorrhea can also be transmitted without penetration. An infection can be contracted through direct mucous membrane contact with the genitals. A course of antibiotics can cure gonorrhea well.
Women occasionally notice an increase in vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant and looks different in color. Vaginal bleeding may occur and urination may be painful. Men usually have clear symptoms of gonorrhea. The first complaints usually occur after a few days to a few weeks after infection. Yellowish or greenish pus-like discharge from the urethra (oozing) and a burning sensation when urinating are the best-known complaints. Without symptoms, gonorrhea is also very contagious.
Partner warning
It is important that all sexual partners in the six weeks prior to the complaints are informed and have themselves tested. In case there are no complaints, then all partners from the last six months.

Hepatitis B

Intense fatigue complaints are very well-known symptoms associated with Hepatitis B. This can take several weeks to months, while the actual illness period can take two to six weeks. Yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes, pale stools, loss of appetite, nausea, fever and pain in the upper right abdomen are also symptoms. The jaundice disappears after a few weeks. Only when the virus has completely disappeared from your blood are you cured. You are then no longer contagious and you cannot get hepatitis B again. Hepatitis B is usually cured within six months, but it can also take longer and is then called chronic hepatitis. With active inflammation, the liver can be permanently damaged (liver cirrhosis). Sometimes liver cancer can develop years later. Usually there are no or only vague signs of being unwell and fever.


With Syphilis it is important that you are there on time. It is a serious condition that is initially very curable. The infection occurs at the site of sexual contact, i.e. initially in the vagina, penis, anus or in the mouth. Later it can spread through the blood throughout the body. If you do not treat the disease, there are three stages that can be distinguished as follows:

  • Stage 1: Sores appear 2 to 12 weeks after infection. The lymph nodes are swollen. Without treatment, the sores will disappear on their own, without curing the disease.
  • Stage 2: This stage occurs several weeks to months later. The bacteria have then spread throughout the body. For example, spots appear all over the body and disappear again on their own. The patient feels flu-like, has a headache, sore throat, is tired, and has a fever. Hair loss can also occur, as can problems with the eyes and vision. Warts may also appear on the genitals.
  • Stage 3 (veil stage): The bacteria are still in the body and you do not always notice this. The disease is contagious to others during both the first and second year and can therefore infect someone. Often after years, various organs become damaged, vascular changes occur, mental deterioration and paralysis symptoms can occur. Because antibiotic treatment is now prescribed much more often, the Syphilis bacteria are sometimes accidentally killed while the patient did not even know he was infected.



If the HIV virus comes into contact with someone else’s bloodstream or mucous membranes through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, precum, vaginal fluid or breast milk, it can spread. About 80% of HIV-infected people experience some flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks after infection, such as fever, night sweats, rash, headache, very tired, weight loss, nausea with or without vomiting and swollen lymph nodes. These complaints disappear again just like after a normal flu. Complaints arise later because the defense mechanism is compromised. This can take two to longer than ten years. You may experience the same type of complaints as in the beginning, namely: extreme fatigue, night sweats, weight loss, elevation, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath. If the HIV virus has affected your immune system to such an extent that you become ill at the slightest thing, you may be diagnosed with AIDS. A blood test can show whether you are infected with HIV. HIV can now be controlled with medication so that the diagnosis of AIDS can be prevented.

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is NOT a venereal disease, is not contagious and causes the same symptoms as an STD. Fungi and bacteria live in the vagina. The natural condition in the vagina can be disrupted, causing the balance of these fungi and bacteria to become out of balance. Symptoms such as itching, burning, increased discharge and sometimes pain occur. Sometimes these complaints do not go away on their own and it is wise to ask your doctor for treatment. Washing the vagina with soap is (always) unwise because it affects the acidity in the vagina, which can cause these types of complaints. Rinsing with lukewarm water is sufficient.

Scroll to Top