Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are transmitted from person to person by sexual contact or close intimate contact. Caused by bacteria, parasites and viruses, STDs can cause serious health problems and damage to health if left untreated. So going for an STD check in Singapore is essential, especially if you’re at high risk of getting infected.
But with more than 20 types of STDs, it may be difficult to pin down the STD infection and decide on which test to go for. In this article, we’ll go over the symptoms of the more common STDs like HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhoea, HPV and syphilis, as well as where to go for an STD check in Singapore.
Can STDs be cured?
A large majority of STDs are caused by bacteria or parasites, both of which can be treated with antibiotics. However, STDs caused by viruses like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS) cannot be cured.
While there’s no cure for these STDs, medication can help with disease control by alleviating the symptoms. These medications have also enabled people to live longer.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from STDs is to use a condom. However, although it can greatly reduce the risk of contracting STDs, it doesn’t eliminate the risk of contracting them.
Should you go for an STD check in Singapore?
To err on the side of caution, you should consider going for an STD check if you’re sexually active and have the following risk factors:
- You have the symptoms and signs of STDs
- Your partner has an STD
- You’ve just entered a new relationship and want to make sure that you and your partner are both clean
- You have more than one sexual partner
- Your partner has more than one sexual partner
- You’ve engaged in sexual activity with an unknown partner
- You’re a man who has sex with men
- You’re an intravenous drug abuser
Remember, it’s always better to be extra safe early on and take control of your sexual health than to deal with the damage that an STD can cause you later.
What are the common signs or symptoms of STDs?
STDs tend to materialise with physical symptoms. If you have recently been in a situation that puts you at risk of having an STD, do look out for these signs.
Common signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS
- Early-stage flu symptoms, including
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
The symptoms of HIV can last between a few days to several weeks. However, some people do not show any symptoms during the early stages of the infection. It’s also important to note that people with no visible symptoms can still transmit HIV to other people.
On the other hand, having these HIV symptoms doesn’t mean that you have HIV. Other illnesses can cause the same symptoms. So the best way to save yourself the risky guesswork is to get an STD check from a nearby STD clinic in Singapore.
Common signs and symptoms of chlamydia
|Chlamydia symptoms for men||Chlamydia symptoms for women|
|– Burning sensation while urinating|
– Lower belly pain
– Yellow or green discharge from the penis
– Pain in the testicles
– Pain, discharge or bleeding around the anus
|– Pain during sex|
– Abnormal vaginal discharge
– Burning sensation during urination
– Lower belly pain
– Bleeding between periodsInflamed cervix
In some cases, chlamydia can cause sore throat, cough or fever. This can occur if you have oral sex with someone who’s already infected with the STD.
Common signs and symptoms of genital herpes
Symptoms of genital herpes may appear about two days after exposure during sexual contact. This includes:
- Itching or tingling sensation around the anus or genital areas
- Blisters in your mouth, lips, face and anywhere that came into contact with the infected areas
- Small blisters that may break open, causing painful sores
- Swollen lymph glands
Once contracted, genital herpes can lie dormant in your body. and it can be triggered when you’re stressed, sick or tired. Like HIV/AIDS, it’s incurable, but can be managed with medication.
Common signs and symptoms of gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea is another STD that has different symptoms for men and women. Symptoms begin to show about two to 14 days after exposure.
|Gonorrhoea symptoms for men||Gonorrhoea symptoms for women|
|– Greater frequency of urination|
– Pus-like discharge (or drip) from the penis that’s white, yellow, beige or of a greenish colour
– Swelling or redness at the opening of the penis
– Swelling or pain in the testicles
– Persistent sore throat
|– Greater frequency of urination|
– Discharge from the vagina that’s watery, creamy or slightly green
– Heavier periods or spotting
– Pain during sexual intercourse
– Sharp pain in the lower abdomen
– Sore throat
– Pain or burning sensation while urinating
Like most STDs, a person can be infected with gonorrhoea and not develop any symptoms. So, if you’re at risk of getting infected, it’s better to get an STD check at a clinic in Singapore.
Common signs and symptoms of HPV
For most HPV infections, the immune system is able to fight the virus before warts appear. If they do appear, they vary depending on the kind of HPV. These include:
- Genital warts
- Common warts
- Plantar warts
- Flat warts
Certain high-risk strains of HPV can also cause cervical cancer. This happens when the virus doesn’t clear by itself, causing the cells in the cervix to grow abnormally.
Common signs and symptoms of syphilis
At the primary stage, symptoms that appear include sores occuring on or around the genital / anus area. In the secondary stage, symptoms that may develop include skin rash, fever and swollen lymph nodes. There are usually no symptoms during the latent stage. At the tertiary stage, the symptoms are usually severe and can affect the heart, brain, and other organs of the body.
Why you shouldn’t leave an STD untreated
Additionally, STDs tend to affect women far more severely than men. This is particularly if a pregnant woman has an STD, as it can affect her baby.
Here are some of the complications that may develop when STDs are left untreated.
HIV infection that’s left untreated can severely damage the body’s immune system, leading to the most severe stage of the infection: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Symptoms of AIDS include rapid weight loss, extreme tiredness and pneumonia.
Gonorrhoea and chlamydia
Untreated gonorrhoea and chlamydia infections can spread to the female reproductive tract, affecting the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This can result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility or ectopic pregnancies.
Both gonorrhoea and chlamydia can also be passed from the mother to the baby. For instance, chlamydia can result in eye infections, blindness or pneumonia in the child.
Genital herpes, if left untreated, can cause a miscarriage, or be spread to the unborn baby.
Most strains of HPV will go away without treatment. However, should warts appear, it’s best that you seek treatment for them as they can grow larger.
When left untreated, syphilis can remain in your body and damage your internal organs such as the eyes, brain, heart and blood vessels. These can eventually lead to death.
Where can you go for an STD check in Singapore?
There are specialised clinics in Singapore that offer more support for STDs. These include the NCID, the DSC Clinic and other private clinics.
The National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) offers treatment for infectious diseases like STDs. To make an appointment, you’ll first need to get a referral from your GP, family doctor or the polyclinic.
You can also visit the Department of STI Control Clinic (DSC Clinic) for an STD check in Singapore. Besides STD checks, the clinic specialises in a range of services from clinical services to patient education.
Another option would be to go to private clinics, such as Dr Tan & Partners (DTAP) Clinic, that specialise in sexual health. These clinics provide comprehensive STD and HIV testing, treatment and management in a discreet and comfortable setting.