What are the risks of STDs?


If you are sexually active, especially with multiple partners, you are at risk of developing or transmitting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Even if you or a partner do not show any symptoms, an STD could still be present. What do you need to know to protect yourself and others?

What are STDs?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another person through sexual contact. Common STDs you may have heard of include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and HIV. 

Are STDs Common?

Yes, STDs are very common, especially among young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five people in the United States has an STD. 

In 2018 alone, there were 68 million known infections in the United States. Of the total infections, 26 million were newly transmitted infections, and half of these new infections occurred among people ages 15-24. 

What are the Symptoms of STDs?

STDs can have a wide range of signs and symptoms, and some may not experience any symptoms at all. That’s why an infection might go unnoticed until later complications occur or you or your partner are diagnosed by a doctor.

Common signs and symptoms could include:

  • Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Unusual or odorous vaginal discharge
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Pain during sex
  • Sore, swollen lymph nodes
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Rash on the torso, hands or feet

What Happens if an STD Goes Untreated?

As mentioned, you may not show any symptoms of an STD or the symptoms may be so mild that they are overlooked. However, if an STD is left untreated, severe complications could occur.

Possible complications include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Eye inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Infertility
  • Heart disease
  • Cancers, such as HPV-associated cervical and rectal cancers

What Should You Do? Schedule An Std Test Today 

The only way to truly know if you have an STD is to be tested. Alpha Center offers free urine-based testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea to our pregnancy-related clients and their partners.

If you are not already a pregnancy-related client, please set up an appointment to receive a free pregnancy test. At your pregnancy test consultation, a client advocate will be able to discuss with you our STD testing policies and procedures.

The risk is real! Schedule your free appointment today.


“Adolescents and Stds.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Jan. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/stdfact-teens.htm

“Common STD Symptoms.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 30 Apr. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/in-depth/std-symptoms/art-20047081

“Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Stds).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 Sept. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/symptoms-causes/syc-20351240

“STD Testing: What’s Right for You?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Sept. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/in-depth/std-testing/art-20046019

“STI Prevalence, Incidence, and Cost Estimates.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Feb. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/std/statistics/prevalence-incidence-cost-2020.htm

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