STD Facts: Summary - Minnesota Dept. of Health

STD Basics

On this page:
Signs and Symptoms
Testing and Treatment
Notifying Partners

Signs and Symptoms

See a Doctor or Clinic if These Symptoms are Present

For Women:
  • Unusual discharge or smell from the vagina
  • Burning or itching around the vagina
  • Bleeding from vagina not associated with period
  • Pelvic pain during sexual intercourse
  • Persistent, unexplained pain in pelvic area

For Men:

  • Pus or other discharge from penis

For Both Women and Men:

  • Sores, bumps or blisters on or near the genitals, mouth or anus
  • Burning and pain during urination or a bowel movement
  • Swelling in the groin (the area around your genitals)


  • Many STDs have no signs and symptoms. Sometimes, the symptoms go away but the STD is still present.
  • Some people believe that if a blood sample is taken during a visit to the doctor that they are checking for STDs. This may not be true.
  • People should talk to their doctors about being tested for STDs if they are at risk.
  • Testing for STDs may not be done during routine gynecological exams for women.


Most STDs are Spread by:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Oral sex
  • Anal sex
  • Infected mother to newborn


If left untreated, some STDs can:

  • Spread to sex partners or syringe-sharing partners
  • Be serious and painful
  • Cause permanent damage to reproductive organs
  • Lead to infertility in men and women
  • Infect newborns, and may lead to serious complications and even death of infants
  • Cause heart disease, blindness, arthritis, brain damage or death


  • Avoiding vaginal, oral or anal sex is the best way to prevent STDs.
  • Limit the number of sex partners.
  • Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing transmission of HIV and most STDs.
  • Always use condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
  • Use a condom for oral sex on a penis.
  • Use a barrier (dental dam or condom cut in half) for oral sex on a vagina or anus.
  • Notify sex partners immediately if you have an STD.
  • Make sure partners are tested and treated at same time to prevent re-infection.
  • CDC Condom Locator
    Search by zip code to find free or low-cost condoms near you.

Testing and Treatment

  • Get a test from a medical provider if infection is suspected.
  • Some STDs can be cured using medication prescribed by a medical provider.
  • Don’t use home remedies.
  • STD Testing
    Find free or low-cost testing near you.

Notifying Partners

Updated Thursday, 21-Feb-2019 15:16:19 CST