How to check for the most common STIs

How to check for the most common STIs

Half of all sexually transmitted infections occur in people aged 25 or under, with young people (aged 15 to 24) contracting chlamydia 5 times the rate of the rest of the population. Because these infections are so widespread in specific demographics, it is very important to know how to check for the most common STIs. Not sure about the process? Well, read our blog to find out more!

Early symptoms

If you want to be able to check for the most common STIs, you need to know the early symptoms for specifics venereal diseases. Each disease presents different symptoms, however, if you start showing any physical symptoms make sure you get to a clinic as soon as possible.

Common STI symptoms: Men

For men, the most common symptoms of venereal disease include:

  • Painful urination
  • Rash on the groin (penis, testicles)
  • Unusual discharge from the penis
  • Blisters on or around the penis
  • Spots, lesions or unusual bumps on the genitals
  • Itching sensation at the tip of the penis

Less common STI symptoms: Men

Some men have reported more obscure symptoms that have been connected to the most common STIs. Some of these include:

  • Chronic flu-like symptoms (sore throat, headache, fever)
  • Swelling and extreme pain in the testicles
  • Urethritis (swelling of the urethra)

Common STI symptoms: Women

Most women experience similar symptoms when infected with venereal disease.

  • Vaginal itching and burning (like vaginal thrush)
  • Vaginal blisters
  • Burning or painful urination
  • Vaginal rash
  • Discharge

Less common STI symptoms: Women

  • Lower back pain (pelvis)
  • Painless vaginal ulcers
  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Flu-like symptoms (sore throat, nausea)

When should symptoms appear?

For the most common STIs, like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and herpes, symptoms generally show up after a few days or a week following exposure. However, sometimes symptoms can never appear or can seemingly go unnoticed by the person. If you have recently engaged in unprotected sex, consider getting a comprehensive venereal disease test to confirm your sexual health.

STI testing: what’s involved?

It’s very important that you get advice from a health professional if you believe you have a sexually transmitted disease. If left untreated, these infections can cause more serious long-term health problems, such as:

  • Infertility
  • Organ damage
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

Visit your doctor

The first step is to visit your doctor. You can try and diagnose your symptoms yourself, but you should ALWAYS follow up with a health professional for clarification. Have a chat with them about your symptoms (if any) and clarify when you believe you may have been exposed to an infection. It’s important that you don’t assume that your doctor will test for all available sexually transmitted infections, because often your GP won’t check for all diseases. These infections can also affect women differently to how they affect men, so speaking to a doctor is always your best bet.

The test

For most individuals, the test is a simple blood and urine sample. A blood or urine sample can be used to check for:

  • Hepatitis
  • Herpes
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea

However, sometimes a simple blood sample can be ineffective in diagnosing an infection. Furthermore, it can also take over a month for specific STIs to show up in blood tests. Therefore, your GP or clinician at the pathology collection centre can also perform a swab exam. This is where your doctor will take urethral swabs (by inserting a cotton applicator into your urethra) to assess whether there are any infectious organisms present.

A physical examination can also be performed. This is a simple procedure, whereby your GP will observe and check for any physical symptoms.


So, it’s clearly very important to check for the most common STIs on a regular basis. If you are sexually active (with multiple partners), most health professionals recommend getting yourself checked out once every 12 months. You may not necessarily have any physical symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get checked for peace of mind!

If you want to speak to a doctor today about obtaining an STI test – Request a Consult now

by Instant Consult