In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) climbed to an all-time high for the sixth consecutive year, from 1.9 million new cases in 2014 to more than 2.6 million in 2019. With numbers on a sharp upward trend, are you at risk of contracting an STD and can you recognize STD symptoms?

STDs spread in one of two ways, said Pippa Murphy, a sex and relationship expert at online retailer Condoms.uk in the United Kingdom:

  1. Certain diseases, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV, are passed on through infected secretions from the vagina or penis coming into contact with mucosal surfaces, such as the cervix, vagina or urethra.
  2. Other diseases, such as genital ulcer diseases like syphilis, chancroid, genital herpes and HPV, are transmitted when infected skin or mucosal surfaces come into contact.

Monte Swarup, M.D., a board-certified OB-GYN in Arizona and founder of HPV Hub, stressed that different STDs have different symptoms. There is no one set of symptoms