What are STDs / STIs?

STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease and STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection. They are medical terms that can be used interchangeably.

STDs / STIs are infections which can be transmitted through sexual intercourse or close body contact with another person who is infected with an STI.

They may be caused by certain bacteria, viruses, fungi or protozoa.


BACTERIA Syphilis (Treponema pallidum), Gonorrhoea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), Non-gonococcal Urethritis (NGU), Chlamydia trachomatis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, Mycoplasma genitalium, Chancroid (Haemophilus ducreyi), Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) (Chlamydia trachomatis)

VIRUS Genital herpes (Herpes simplex virus type 1 & 2), Molluscum contagiosum (molluscum contagiosum virus), Genital warts (Human papilloma virus), Viral Hepatitis (Hepatitis A, B and C viruses), HIV and AIDs infection (Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 & 2)

FUNGI Vaginal candidiasis (Candida albicans)

PROTOZOA Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas vaginalis)

PARASITES Scabies (Sarcoptes scabiei), Pubic lice infestation (Pediculosis pubic)


Through sexual contact

Transmission of some STIs e.g. non gonococcal urethritis (NGU), HIV, Hepatitis B and gonorrhoea occurs when there is transfer of body fluids (e.g. semen from the male genital tract or vaginal secretions from the female genital tract) from an infected person to the sex partner. Transmission of some STIs e.g. gonorrhoea and chlamydia may also occur with transfer of oral saliva or fluids from a person’s infected mouth to the sex partner.

Through skin to skin contact

Transmission of other STIs, e.g. scabies, pubic lice, syphilis, herpes and warts occurs when there is close skin-to-skin contact.

Through blood contact

Some STIs e.g. syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV may be transmitted through direct contact with contaminated blood, for example through sharing of injection needles or through contaminated blood transfusions.


The common symptoms of STIs are:

  • Genital discharge from the urethra or the vagina – may be associated with pain, itch, discolouration (white, yellow, green)
  • Dysuria (pain on passing urine) – a burning sensation during urination
  • Genital sores or ulcers – may be painful or painless
  • Blisters on genitals – fluid filled bubbles or vesicles that can occur in clusters or groups
  • Growths on genitals – can occur singly or multiple growths, usually painless, irregularly shaped
  • Swelling of lymph glands (or lymphadenopathy) – may be in the groin
  • Rash on genitals and other parts of the body – reddish, erythematous, generalised or concentrated over the chest and back

Sometimes an infection can present in the absence of any symptoms or signs. This is called an asymptomatic infection.


The incubation period is the period of time from infection to the appearance of signs and symptoms; it can vary among the different types of STIs.

Some infections such as gonorrhoea, non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) and genital herpes have short incubation periods, ranging from 2 days to 3 weeks. The incubation period of other STIs such as syphilis may range from 2 weeks to many months, and that for HIV infections may be several years. You should see a doctor as soon as you notice any of the signs and symptoms of an STI.

Not all infections will present with signs or symptoms. Some patients may be asymptomatic carriers of the infection but will have the risk of transmitting to other partners unknowingly. More than 10% of males, and more than half of females with gonorrhoea and chlamydia infection do not show any sign or symptom.

If none of the signs or symptoms occurs, blood tests for syphilis and HIV should be carried out after 4 weeks. Conclusive results can usually be obtained after 12 weeks. Swab or urine tests for infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia may be carried out after 2 weeks.

The most common STDs / STIs in Singapore:

  • HIV / AIDS infection
  • Syphilis (or Venereal Disease)
  • Hepatitis
  • Genital Herpes / HSV
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Non gonoccoccal urethritis (NGU)
  • Genital warts / HPV


If you think you may have an STD, please see below.

Testing for STD/STI – Our STD/HIV clinic provides a full range of STD and STI testing services which can be done at the same time as the HIV testing. Please see here for a full list of STD testing and screening profiles. HIV and STD tests can be customized to suit your risk profile.

Testing for HIV – We offer a full range of HIV testing as well as rapid and fast HIV tests, either by oral saliva swab or by fingerprick blood. Results in 20 minutes!

Prevention of HIV – If you have had a recent high risk exposure (less than 72 hours), you may wish to consider HIV PEP or HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis, which may help to prevent HIV transmission and potentially save your life!

Prevention of STD – We offer vaccination against Hepatitis virus and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Please call 64433101, SMS 96622880 or email for more information.

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