Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Syndromes Overview

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Syndromes Overview

Sexually Transmitted Disease is passed on through penetrative sex, that including:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Anal sex
  • Oral sex can either transmit germs from the genitals to the throat of the person giving the stimulation, or it can pass an infection from the throat to the genitals of the person receiving stimulation.

Less often it can be transmitted by:

  • a person using their mouth and tongue to lick or suck another person’s anus;
  • a person putting fingers into the vagina, anus or mouth of someone infected with gonorrhea, then touching their own mouth, genitals or anus without washing their hands in between.

Signs and Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases can be classified under the following:

For Men:

You can basically classify the possible symptoms into 3 groups:

  1. Urinary Symptoms – Pain passing urine, Discharge etc
  2. Skin Symptoms – Growths, Ulcers etc
  3. General Symptoms – Fever, Swollen Lymph nodes etc

Penis discharge may be caused by sexually transmitted diseases including:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Herpes
  • Trcihomonas vaginalis

For Women:

You can basically classify the symptoms into 5 groups:

  1. Urinary symptoms – Burning pain passing urine, going to the toilet very often etc
  2. Vaginal Discharge – Abnormal discharge from the vagina especially colored or foul smelling
  3. Sexual Symptoms – Pain during sex, bleeding after sex
  4. Skin Symptoms – Ulcers, Blisters, Growth, Itch etc
  5. General Symptoms – Fever, Swollen lymph nodes, lower abdominal pain

For Man-who-have-sex-with-man (MSM)

You can basically classify the possible symptoms into 3 groups:

  1. Urinary Symptoms – Pain passing urine, Discharge etc
  2. Skin Symptoms – Growths, Ulcers & Blisters around the mouth, anal and body
  3. General Symptoms – Fever, Swollen Lymph nodes etc
  4. Throat Symptoms –  Sore throat, Painful throat, Pus on the tonsils,
  5. Anal Symptoms – Discharge, Discomfort, Bleeding

In a nutshell

  1. Penile discharges
  2. Vaginal discharges
  3. Pain during urination
  4. Lymph nodes
  5. Misc. Lumps and bumps
  6. Pain when having sex/Vaginitis
  7. Itch in the genital area
  8. Genital sores (painful/painless)
  9. Anal discharges and bleeding
  10. Throat discomfort

List of Sexually Transmitted Diseases:

This is the commonest STD in Singapore. Unfortunately, 40% to 60% of people do not show any symptoms. Even when symptoms do appear, they are often mild and disappear quickly.

The common symptoms are pain passing urine, discharge from the penis or vagina.

The symptoms can occur as early as 2 days after exposure but in some people it might take months to show symptoms. In 10% of people there are no symptoms at all.

The common symptoms are pain passing urine and a discharge from the penis or vagina.

It very commonly causes no symptoms at all.

The common symptoms are mild discomfort passing urine or a mild discharge.

It very commonly causes no symptoms at all.

The common symptoms usually occur about 3 to 4 weeks after exposure. They are fever, sore throat, rash and swollen lymph nodes.

It can infect a person for years without showing any symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are so mild they go unnoticed. For people who do get symptoms, the first time is the worst.

The common symptoms are painful blisters that burst to form painful ulcers. This is usually preceded by a flu-like illness, itching, tingling and pain in the genital area. The first episode is usually very painful and can last up to 3 weeks without treatment.

Hepatitis AB and C
Some people never develop any symptoms. Or the symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed.

The common symptoms are nausea, loss of appetite, fever, itching, yellowing of the skin or eyes. Smokers sometimes lose their urge to smoke.

Its symptoms can be so mild that they go unnoticed.

The first sign occurs between 9 to 90 days after exposure. It is a painless ulcer where the Syphilis entered the body. It can be on the penis, vagina, rectum, tongue or lips. The ulcer disappears without any treatment which gives patients a false sense of security.

Years later it will surface again as a rash all over the body and fever. If at the time it is still not treated it will affect the brain and major blood vessels of the body causing severe illnesses.

Molluscum Contagiosum
It commonly appears as discrete pearly round lesions on the skin. They are completely painless but might be itchy.

It commonly appears as skin colored cauliflower like lumps on the skin.

Scabies and Lice

It commonly causes a lot of itching especially at night. Under good lighting and magnification you can actually catch the Scabies which look like translucent tiny insects.

Note: Please remember that you can catch an STD and show no symptoms. If you feel you are at risk, go for STD screening.



Need more advice?

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3.) Scotts Medical Centre (+65 6694 2348)

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6.) Novena (+65 6397 2095)

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Please email your queries, feedback and suggestions on what other topics you want to see in the comments section below.


  1. Dr, It has been 46 days since my exposure in which I had protected sex with a csw from Petain Road(apparently a legal red light district where csw go for regular screenings). The exposure lasted for about 10 mins and there was no slippage or breakage in the condom. Neither was there any oral or kissing involved. My symptoms have been mild headaches, lower abdominal discomfort and rashes on my arm. 17 days prior to the exposure I went to visit a doctor and she examined my genetals. She shared that it looked normal and that my chances of contracting STDs are generally low. But I cannot help but still feel worried. Given my type of exposure, would you say that I’m of Low risk? Cus I have read in many articles that condoms are very effective in preventing the spread of STDs. Thank you for your time and attention doctor.

  2. Hi , Dr Tan I have a protected sex with a KTV hostess . She did give a unprotected blow job for about less than 5 min. Can I ask u am I in a high risk of getting std and HIV? Thanks

    • I don’t know what you mean by “high risk” and personally I think whether the risk is high or low there is no practical difference. The fact is you need to get tested anyway. That said, I can say that your exposure risk for HIV is extremely low but for STDs is not low.

  3. Hi doctor,

    I went for a HIV, syphillis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia test at about 12-13 weeks post-exposure, and results all came back normal. I have not experienced any symptoms of any of the STIs until yesterday, when there was a feeling of needing to pee constantly, and penile discharge. I am currently 18 weeks post-exposure. My questions are:

    1. Can symptoms of gonorrhoea and chlamydia appear so late post-exposure?
    2. What are the chances of a false negative? I’ve read that one needs to hold in urine for about 3 hours, but I was only able to hold it in for 1 hour before the urine test. Would it affect the results?
    3. If it’s a non-STI, what could the other causes of (what I’m assuming to be) UTI be?

    Thank you!

    • 1. Yes they can. 2. As with every medical test, there is always a chance of a false negative. I assume what you had were PCR tests which are very accurate. Even if you did not hold your urine for 3 hours, the chance of having a false negative test is still rather low. 3. It could be a UTI, Non-STI urethritis or more likely, a prostatitis (which can also be caused by an STI and will not be picked up on regular urine tests)

  4. Hi Dr Tan, I would like to know if the STD screening and treatment is anonymous like the HIV one.

    • drtan

      No it is not and it cannot be. Any clinic that tells you they can do anonymous STD screening and treatment is either lying or illegal. But you can rest assured that all the information will be kept confidential.

  5. RF Dude

    Dr Tan, please advise on my following symptoms:

    Rash: Red and itch around chest and neck and some redness on face
    Persistent coughing and experiencing some difficulty in breathing
    No fever.

    Have a medical history of mild bronchittis

    5 weeks back have unprotected Oral Sex with CSW(Masseur) . Also have protected oral and penetrative sex with a legal brothel house


    • First of all I have to remind you that this forum is not for giving medical advice. You have to see your doctor for that. I can only say your symptoms are not typical of any STDs. This does not mean you do not have an STD. Your symptoms could also well be due to a non-STD diseases that requires medical attention. The best thing for you to do now is to see your doctor and get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

      • RF Dude

        Hi Dr Tan,

        Thank you for the advice. The worrying thing now is I am now sure whether the STD virus or HIV has triggered my pre -existing conditions as mentioned above because I have been on the high risk and has contact with legal prostitutes (even though with condom) and also unprotected oral sex with a masseur.

        I know I should go for tests but if I am afraid to go, any other notable symptoms that I need to be aware of

        • Dr Justin Sim

          STD symptoms can all overlap and be somewhat non-specific, but usual ones to look out for would be discharge from the penis, burning sensation when passing urine and unusual rashes or blisters around the genitals. HIV may produce the ARS symptoms at 2-4 weeks but not everybody gets them. If you believe you are high risk then testing is the only way to be sure.

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