5 Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) That Are Asymptomatic

Certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be asymptomatic. Here’s what you need to know.

5 Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) That Are Asymptomatic

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are primarily spread through sexual contact and can range from mild to severe, with some causing serious complications if left untreated. In 2017, there were over 20 million reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases worldwide according to records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the actual number of cases may be even higher due to underreporting. Among these infections, there are several that may not present any symptoms. Regular screenings are often recommended by doctors to prevent the transmission of STDs and STIs. Here are some sexually transmitted diseases that may not exhibit any symptoms of infection.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) That Can Be Asymptomatic

1. Chlamydia


Chlamydia ranks among the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections reported in the US and various other regions globally. It predominantly affects individuals between the ages of 15 and 24. Often termed a “silent disease,” it can lead to scarring of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and endometrial lining, raising the risk of tubal infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Fortunately, a week-long course of antibiotics can effectively cure it.

2. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is an infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In 2018, approximately 550,000 cases of this sexually transmitted disease were reported. It ranks as the second most common STI in the United States. Many women with gonorrhea do not exhibit noticeable symptoms, making them susceptible to complications. The infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, formation of scar tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes, difficulties with pregnancy, and chronic abdominal pain. Pregnant women can transmit the infection to their babies during childbirth, posing risks to the infant’s health.

3. HIV

HIV is a prevalent sexually transmitted disease that can remain undetected for months or even years. In its initial stages, HIV may cause flu-like symptoms that often go unnoticed by individuals unaware of their infection. Untreated HIV can progress to AIDS and increase the risk of cancer. Antiretroviral medications are prescribed to prevent the transmission of the virus to other individuals.

3. HIV

4. Genital Herpes

Silent genital herpes can be asymptomatic but still transmissible. The risk of transmission for this type of herpes is relatively low. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control, it commonly affects adults between the ages of 14 and 49. The majority of herpes cases exhibit mild to no symptoms, and there is currently no cure for the disease. Condoms are not completely effective in preventing the spread of the virus. However, anti-herpes medications are available to help control transmission from one person to another.

5. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is caused by a protozoan parasite and is more prevalent in women. In many cases, individuals with trichomoniasis do not experience symptoms. In women, trichomoniasis may cause vaginal discharge with an odor, itching in the genital area, and painful urination over time. Men with trichomoniasis often do not exhibit symptoms. The exact duration between exposure to the parasite and infection is not known.