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Sexually Transmitted Diseases Guide

Rosa Cabrera RN

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What STD Skin Rashes Look Like

By Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter
 
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how to recognize STD skin rashes
Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) may have a variety of symptoms or may not show any specific symptoms. However, the appearance of a rash or other skin change can be a sign that you need to be checked. Below are short descriptions of some skin symptoms to watch for if you are concerned that you may have been exposed to an STD.

Bacterial STDs

Chlamydia:
Often chlamydia has mild or no symptoms. Women may have an increased vaginal discharge and men a discharge from their penis. Lower abdominal pain, testicular pain in men and pain on urination may occur.

Gonorrhea (GC):
Symptoms may appear 2-10 days after exposure or in some people, or months may pass before symptoms occur. A thick, cloudy or bloody discharge may come from the vagina or penis. Men may have painful swollen testicles. Anal itching may occur. Burning on urination may be mistaken for a urinary tract infection.

Syphilis:
Syphilis may develop in four stages.

Primary syphilis can occur 10 days to three months after exposure. A small sore (chancre) appears on your genitals, anal area or mouth/tongue depending on the area that the infection entered. Lymph nodes swell, and sometimes multiple sores can develop.

In secondary syphilis, reddish-brown penny-sized sores can erupt all over your body including the palms of your hands. Fatigue and soreness may develop. Stage two may disappear in a few weeks, or come and go for up to a year.

Latent (hidden)syphilis is next and may not have symptoms.

Tertiary syphilis is the last stage. Serious neurological and cardiovascular problems develop and possibly death.

Viral STDS

Genital Herpes (HSV-2):
Genital herpes often has mild or no symptoms. Small red bumps or blisters with open vesicles can appear on genitals, anus and other areas nearby. Painful itching or tingling in your genital area, buttocks or inner thighs may occur a few weeks after exposure. Herpes can be infectious even if no sores are present.

Genital Warts (HPV):

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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