The appearance of symptoms is simply the physical manifestation of infections or diseases which has taken/is taking root inside the body already. People around the world today are very much on the lookout for various symptoms because there is a variance of symptoms depending on the particular disease, but what happens when there are no symptoms even after being infected with a particular infection?

It will become very difficult for diagnosis of the infection to come about which will eventually affect the treatment subsequently. Various infections like Ebola, malaria, typhoid, flu, cold, Lassa fever, etc., all have unique symptoms although they all might begin with cold-like symptoms.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases, on the other hand, can be very difficult to predict because the appearance of symptoms is not static but vary from person to person. This difficulty in ascertaining STD symptoms at times is one of the reasons the infections are deadly and very difficult to manage.

While some people do not exhibit symptoms at all until the critical stage, others are immediately conscious of the symptoms after about 2 to 3 days of exposure to the infection. The other set of people who are asymptomatic are wonderful carriers of the infection without being aware of that fact because they are living their normal daily lives all fine.

When the pathogenic organisms gain entry into the body, it moves in the circulatory system before finally settling in its abode; after settling, it begins to affect surrounding tissues and cells, thereby, prompting the release of antibodies by the immune system in response to the infection. The period of a settling of the pathogenic organism in the body is known as the ‘incubation period’ or ‘window period’.

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After settling and destruction of some antibodies, the symptoms of the infection begin to appear gradually in the individual’s body, thus making the infection visible and bringing the awareness of the individual to the infection. This means that the appearance of STD symptoms is dependent on the immunity level of an individual and the load of the infection at the same time.

Early stage symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases

The onset symptoms of STD might be confused with many other infections because they bear a close resemblance to many other diseases. Some early-stage symptoms of common STDs include:

  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Painful urination
  • Blisters on the skin, etc.

The average incubation period of some STDs

As established earlier, the incubation period is the period before initial onset of symptoms after contact is made with the infection. Various STDs have their specific incubation periods which we all must be aware of so as to be sure of when an STD test is needed if one thinks he/she has made contact with the infection.

The average incubation periods of some STDs are described below.


The normal incubation period of syphilis is about 2 to 3 weeks after exposure to the infection. This means that symptoms of syphilis will appear after about 3 weeks of being infected with the pathogen, it may however appear earlier or later in some other individuals. Chancre sore is actually the first sign of the syphilis infection. Other symptoms include:

  • Flu-like symptoms and blotchy rash
  • Genital ulcer or painless sore


For Chlamydia infection, the normal incubation period is about 1 to 3 weeks. That is, it takes about 3 weeks for onset of symptoms to occur after the body is infected. The symptoms include:

  • Bleeding in women from the vagina after sex
  • Painful urination
  • Pain in the testicle in men
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HIV symptoms appear in the individual after about 2 to 6 weeks. The symptoms of HIV include:

  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • High temperature and red rash


Trichomoniasis presents its symptoms after about 4 weeks of contact with the pathogen. The symptoms of Trichomoniasis include the following:

  • Painful urination
  • Vagina discomfort and itchiness
  • Genital discharge

Genital warts

The first visible symptom of genital warts begins after 3 months of exposure to the infection. The symptoms include:

  • Painless genital growth
  • Genital itchiness


Gonorrhea symptoms usually appear after 10 days. Most people however will not exhibit symptoms until the critical stage. The symptoms for Gonorrhea include:

  • Painful urination
  • Colorful discharge from penis or vagina


Genital herpes presents its symptoms after about 4 to 7 days. It might however not be seen until after many months or years. The symptoms of herpes include:

  • Genital blisters without pain
  • Pain while urinating
  • Genital itchiness

Having seen that most people living with different STDs do not know that they are even infected, doctors and other healthcare workers will usually advice that people present themselves for STD tests because the symptom might not show up until it becomes very critical. Various STDs take very long time to manifest symptoms and some do not even show symptoms at all until an outright damage has been done to the individual. Home test kits also come in very handy here too.

It is important to get tested for STDs because you might just be a carrier without having even the slightest idea that you are infected with one. Hence, how fast an STD symptom can appear is dependent on the type or form of STD which one is infected with.

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