STD Symptoms in Men

VDThis is a huge topic as there are many STDs out there each with its own set of symptoms.

Also, we must keep in mind that now everyone who is infected with an STD will develop symptoms.

With these 2 caveats in mind, I will try my best to give you an overview of the various STD symptoms.

Note that this article refers to the man as the insertive partner. So it discusses what a man can catch from inserting his penis into the mouth, vagina and/or the anus of his partner.

Click here for STD symptoms in receptive Oral Sex – i.e. using his/her mouth on the partner’s genitals or anus

Click here for STD symptoms in receptive Anal Sex – i.e. allowing his/her partner to insert his penis into the anus

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

1. Urinary Symptoms

These are by far the commonest STD symptoms you will see because the STDs that cause them are the commonest STDs there are.

Symptoms include:

Pain or discomfort when passing urine. This is usually felt in the urine tube within the penis (urethra) or at the tip of the penis. Some people describe it as ‘burning’ some describe it as an ítch’. Gonorrhea usually causes more pain. Chlamydia less pain or hardly any pain at all, just a weird sensation. Trichomonas causes more itching.

Discharge from the penis. Yellow, white or clear liquid coming out from the tip of the penis.  Gonorrhea usually causes more yellow and high volume discharge. In fact enough to make a whole mess of your clothes. Most of my patients with Gonorrhea have to put a tissue around the tip of the penis to collect the discharge. Chlamydia and NSU causes a discharge of much less volume and also less yellow.

Pain or discomfort in the testis. This is a symptoms quite classical of Chlamydia. The discomfort can range from being very mild to quite severe. There might even be some swelling of the scrotum but this is rare.

Who are the culprits?

Chlamydia – the commonest STD in the world


– Ureaplasma Urealyticum

– Mycoplasma Hominis

– Other NSU bacteria

– Trichomonas

When do they appear?

Classically we are taught 3 to 30 days.

In fact, Gonorrhea usually presents the earliest. As early as 2 days from exposure. 90% of people will get symptoms by 1 week.

Chlamydia usually takes a bit longer. Most patients will show symptoms only at about 2 weeks post exposure. Bear in mind that 80% of people infected with Chlamydia will not show any symptoms at all.

2. Skin Symptoms

This is also extremely common.

Symptoms include:

– Ulcers. Do not mistake ulcers for lumps or pimples on the skin. Ulcers are actual breaks or craters on the skin. They are always wet looking. If the ulcers are painful, small (3mm to 5mm), multiple (3 to 5 at least) and are surrounded by red skin, it is likely to be Herpes. If there is only 1 ulcer, it is painless and rather big (8mm or bigger) it is likely to be Syphilis. If it is 1 ulcer, big and very painful with very swollen and painful lymph nodes along your groin crease, it is likely to be a Chancroid (Haemophilus Ducreyi).

– Growths. What we are talking about here are lumps and bumps on the skin. If the lump is skin colored and looks like a cauliflower, it is likely a wart caused by HPV. If the lumps look like little pearls stuck onto the skin, it is likely to be Molluscum Contagiosum Virus.

– Blisters. Blisters are small fluid filled sacs on the skin. They look like little bubbles on the skin. These are almost always caused by Herpes.

– Itch. This is typical of lice and scabies. The itch is usually very bad and persistent. It can be a lot worse at night. Under good lighting, the lice can actually be seen on the skin. It usually hides in dark hair bearing areas like underneath the scrotum.

Who are the culprits?



Molluscum Contagiosum Virus (MCV)

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

– Scabies and Lice

When do they appear?

Syphilis 9 to 90 days. Herpes as early as 1 week or as late as months later. The same applies for HPV and MCV. They can appear within a couple of weeks of infection or can take months or even years before they appear.

Symptoms for Scabies and Lice usually occur very soon after infection.

3. General Symptoms

These are the most confusing. They are called ‘General Symptoms’ because the same symptoms are caused by many different diseases most of which have nothing to do with STDs at all.

Symptoms include:

– Fever. Basically anything and everything causes fever. From your common cold to HIV. So if you do develop a fever after a sexual exposure, see your doctor but there is no reason to panic.

– Rash. Again a terribly non-specific symptom. Could be caused by an allergy or HIV or Syphilis. The HIV rash looks like measles and usually appears 3 weeks from exposure. The Syphilis rash looks like red spots with flaky skin around them. Classically they appear on the palms and soles which is rare for other rashes. They can appear anytime from 2 to 6 months after infection.

– Swollen Lymph Nodes. The lymph nodes are part of the body’s natural defenses. When one part of the body is infected, the lymph nodes surrounding it will swell and sometimes become painful. This is the way the body fights the infection. Swollen lymph nodes occur all the time. Even the common cold can cause lymph nodes to swell. If the lymph nodes along the groin crease (inguinal lymph nodes) are swollen, this can suggest infections like Herpes, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Chancroid. If other lymph nodes like on the neck or under the armpits are swollen, this is too general to know if they are caused by STDs or not.

– Loss of appetite, feeling weak, loss of interest in smoking. I put these symptoms here because they can be caused by Hepatitis. But I’m sure you can appreciate that almost any illness, even anxiety, can cause these symptoms.

Who are the culprits?





When do they appear?

Usually about 2 to 3 weeks after infection. But they can appear as late as 6 weeks from infection.

What do you do now?

Not everyone who is infected with an STD will develop symptoms. Of course if you do have any of the above symptoms, please see us as soon as you can.

If you do not have any of the symptoms, get a full STD screening at 1 month  post exposure to be 100% sure you are clear of everything.

If you have any questions, visit our free online forum on sexual health, HIV and STDs.

Related Topics:

Cost of HIV/STD Screening at our Clinics

HIV Testing FAQ

STDs – General Info

STD Symptoms in Women

STD symptoms in receptive Oral Sex

STD symptoms in receptive Anal Sex

What Causes Chlamydia Infection in Men who have sex with Men?


Need more advice?

Come down to Our Clinics for a discussion with Our Doctors, or call our clinics for more information:

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All Our Doctors are Fully Certified and Trained to conduct specialised STD Screening,  STD Testing & STD Treatment and HIV Testing.

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About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.

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  1. Worried Guy


    On the 16 Nov, I had unprotected sex with a stranger i met online on our first meet up.

    3 to 4 days ago, I had the urge to urine but when i went to the toilet, I will only relieve out abit at times. Thereafter, I will have the urge to urine again.

    There are also times when I see abit liquid at the area of my penis opening and i don’t know if its normal as i do not usually pay attention to these in the past.

    I also experienced more frequent itchiness around my penis area compared to the past.

    Hope I can have your opinion in these as it is making me emotionally stressed. Thank you

    • Your symptoms are highly suggestive of a urinary STD such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. It is best to visit us promptly for a proper evaluation and necessary treatment.

  2. Is that test for std at day 41of exposure are conclusif the test are VDRL,RPR – negative ,HSV 1&2 IgG- negative. (Urine PCR)CHLY PCR- negative,GONOCCOAL PCR- NEGATIVE. Is this conclusif doc pls help.thanks in advance.

  3. Good morning, Dr. Jonathan,

    I recently went back from a trip abroad from Europe. I had unprotected sex with a couple of people.

    As I was closing in to my journey back home, I developed the following symptoms:

    1/ I got one single spot with sharp pain that was very small on my stomach, probably 0.5mm in diameter (or even less). Firstly thought it was just a bug bite. However, it got bigger and bigger. While I was flying all the way back home, the spot became bigger but less painful. The spot is surrounded by blue-ish skin (like bruise) around it. When I accidentally scraped the dried spot while showering, I can see that the spot was filled with pus but little blood. Now, the spot is at around 3-3.5mm but with relatively no pain.

    2/ I have the lymph nodes next to my genital area swollen. While not visible to naked eyes, I can feel them with my fingers. They’re still tender until now and they move around when I push them around. The lymph nodes in my neck and armpit area are normal as I’m unable to feel them.

    3/ Over the flights back home, I developed a fever-like symptom that caused me to pass gas (flatulence) excessively to a point that I literally had to go to the bathroom for the sake of passing gas. The fever went away completely in 1.5 days.

    4/ It seems that now I have anal fissures as it is very painful for me to pass stool. This was probably caused by me passing stool that was hard during the flight but then it got so much worse as I deplaned the aircraft. Currently, I put ointment on the affected area and take Dulcolax to help ease my bowel movement to prevent sharp pain.

    Based on the information you provided above, the closest that this seems could be that I got Herpes. However, I got only one spot (perhaps ulcer/blister, since it was filled with pus and blood) instead of outbreak as you suggested.

    I was wondering if you could comfort me with information on what this might be, Dr. Jonathan?

    Thank you very much for your time and understanding.


    • We cannot make any medical diagnoses over the internet. If you are concerned about your symptoms, please visit us for a proper consult and evaluation, and we can advise on the appropriate tests required.

  4. Hi Dr Tan,

    I have had unprotected oral with commercial sex worker on 2 occasion. once on Nov 2017 and once in mid Jan.
    i went for 4th Gen HIV testing and was tested negative recently.
    i spotted a red spot on my penis today. whats your recommendation for testing? should i wait and monitor the condition?

    • We would not be able to tell based on your description alone. If you are concerned, please come visit our clinics so that we can provide a proper consult and evaluation.

      • Hi Doctor,

        Thanks. If thats the case when would be the best time to get tested to ensure it is accurate. As mentioned i had 2 encounter. Once in mid nov 2017 and mid jan 2018.

        • For accurate results, you can come in 4 weeks or more after exposure. But if it is a herpes or syphilis lesion, you may want to come in earlier so we can assess it properly.

          • Thanks doctor. I will be getting tested. In the mean time, would like to know how STD can spread other then having sex. Anything i have to take note of to protect my family? Thanks.

  5. Hi doctor, in nov, I have my date doing handjob to me and then the next few mins, I think there’s a thick liquid coming out from my penis. We did not do any anal, vaginal or oral sex at all. But then the next 3 weeks, there’s a thick liquid or urethral discharge coming out from my penis in the morning. I have the urge to urine sometimes but sometimes I don’t have at all. I also have a very minor tear at my meatus. But I recently went to the doctor for urine test and ultrasound scan. And also uroflow studies and bladder scan, The doctor said that I pee alot when doing a full bladder test and they told me that my urine flow is normal and negative for UTI. May i know do I have any risk of STD?

    • Dr Elaine Loh

      Handjob does not put you at risk of STD. If you are concerned, I suggest you see another doctor for a second opinion.

  6. Hi doctor,

    I have sex with a csw from china, we used condom for sex. But without condom while she did a oral on me. (I did not do oral and deep kiss with her.) After a few days i develop some rashes on my plevic and side of my thigh area (near penis and testicle area.) What are the risk I got infected by HIV? Will look forward your reply.

    Thank you!

    • I forgot to mention the date i expose is 9th dec 2017.


    • The risk of HIV is very low, but there are other potential STDs you can get from unprotected oral sex including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes. It is best to visit us for a proper consult and evaluation, so that we can make a diagnosis and treat you appropriately.

      • Thank you Dr Jonathan.

        Is it better for me to come down at day 28 after my expose date? So I can come down to your clinic and do a 4th generation test with some other test. Any other suggestions?
        Thank you.

  7. Hello doctor, I had unprotected oral sex with commercial sex worker a week ago after 2days ago i started to have fever, sore throat but recovered however there are red dots and lines, doesn’t hurt or itchy however weird smells with white liquids. I visited doctor yesterday and was given antibiotics as well as cream called Saerogenta-a cream which shown good sign on recovery but i have not done HIV test. May I know any chance of this is part of HIV? Thank you

  8. I got intimate with a lady who has several partners. We kissed and touch each other private parts. In the midst of the act, my fingers got into contact with her semen. After which, I masterbuated on my own. My concern is will her semen come into contact with my penis? If yes, am I at risk of any STDs or HIV? Kindly advise. There was no oral sex or unprotected sex involved. Thank you.

  9. Hi Doctor Tan, I visited your clinic as I got genital warts. These 2 days, I see and feel there is a small lump on my tongue. Can HPV cause tongue wart? Is it link to genital wart?

    • It would be quite rare to get HPV warts over your tongue, although not unheard of.

    • Doctor,

      I’d exposure to a commercial sex worker – unprotected oral and sexual intercourse on 9th Sept and developed feverish symptoms 4 days later. May I know how long does signs of HIV present itself post exposure please?

  10. hi i have some 2 red bump on my penis glan the bump if press strongly will cause clear fluid a little bit….i test for vdrl/tpha test after 1week lump appear….result test after 2week result negative..but doctor gave me a jab for syphillis n ampicilin for a week but nothing change n the bump multiple from 2 became 5…my last risk exposure is about 2month….the bump dont became a ulcer or sore it about 17days…its dont itch or pain…

    then last week i went to skin clinic the doctor told me i might be scabies…after a apply the cream aslo no much difrent…

    hope u can give your opinion on this…

    • Hi, there are still several conditions which can cause bumps over your genitals. It would be best if you came down to our clinic to take a look.


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