Google Translate Disclaimer

A number of pages on the Government of Saskatchewan`s web site have been professionally translated in French. These translations are identified by a yellow text box that resembles the link below and can be found in the right hand rail of the page. The home page for French-language content on this site can be found here:

Renseignements en Français

Where an official translation is not available, Google™ Translate can be used. Google™ Translate is a free online language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages. Translations are made available to increase access to Government of Saskatchewan content for populations whose first language is not English.

The results of software-based translation do not approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. The translation should not be considered exact, and may include incorrect or offensive language Government of Saskatchewan does not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated by this system. Some files or items cannot be translated, including graphs, photos, and other file formats such as portable document formats (PDFs).

Any person or entities that rely on information obtained from the system does so at his or her own risk. Government of Saskatchewan is not responsible for any damage or issues that may possibly result from using translated website content. If you have any questions about Google™ Translate, please visit: Google™ Translate FAQs.

Sexually Transmitted Infections and Symptoms

Information on common sexually transmitted infections, their symptoms, prevention, and treatment.
Top

1. Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. 

Most cases occur in people between 15 to 24 years of age. 

Chlamydia is spread through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected person.  A pregnant woman with chlamydia can pass the infection to the baby during pregnancy or childbirth. 

Symptoms
  • Most individuals who are infected with chlamydia do not know it because they don't have symptoms. 
  • Males who have symptoms may have pain or burning on urination with clear to milky discharge from the penis. 
  • Females who have symptoms may have unusual or increased vaginal discharge, pain during sex, pain or burning when peeing or pelvic pain. 
  • Females may have spotting between periods or after sex. 
  • Symptoms of rectal infections may include rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding. 

Symptoms may appear 1-3 weeks (or up to 6 weeks) after exposure.
Top

2. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacterium Neisseria gonorrhea. 

Most cases are in young adults under 25 years of age.

Over the years, gonorrhea has become harder to treat because there are more drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea in many parts of the world and Canada. 

Gonorrhea is spread through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected person.  A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can pass the infection to the baby during pregnancy or childbirth. 

Symptoms
  • Many persons who are infected with gonorrhea do not know it because they don't have symptoms. 
  • Symptoms can occur in different parts of the body where the infection is (genitals, throat, rectum) 
  • Males who have symptoms may have pain or burning when peeing or white, yellow or green discharge from the penis. Sometimes they may have painful or swollen testicles. 
  • Females who have symptoms may have different vaginal discharge, pain during sex, pain or burning when peeing or pelvic pain. 
  • Females may have spotting between periods or after sex. 
  • Infections in the throat do not usually cause symptoms. 
  • Symptoms of rectal infections may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding or painful bowel movements. 

Symptoms may appear 2-7 days after contact.

Top

3. Herpes

Herpes is an infection caused by a virus called Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). 

There are two types of herpes viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2). HSV-1 commonly causes cold sores on the lips and mouth. Most genital herpes cases are caused by HSV-2. 

Herpes is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact with the open sores or blisters. This type of contact may occur with kissing or oral, vaginal or anal sex. 

Genital herpes can be spread more easily during an active infection (from the time there are early signs of infection until the sores are completely healed). 

More commonly, transmission occurs when there are no symptoms (this is called asymptomatic shedding). Herpes may also be spread from a mother to her baby during childbirth. 

Symptoms
  • Many people with herpes have mild or no symptoms. 
  • Symptoms may appear about 6 days (between 2-21 days) after infection. 
  • When symptoms do occur, they are small, painful, fluid-filled blisters appearing in the genital area. Tingling or burning in the affected area may also be noticed before the blisters or sores appear.  
  • A group of blisters is called an "outbreak". 
  • Blisters open and form a sore that will crust or scab. 
  • In men, these blisters may occur on the penis, scrotum or anus.
  • In women, these blisters or sores may occur on the vulva, in the vagina, and on the cervix or anus. 
  • Some people do not know they have herpes because the sores may be on the cervix or inside the penis or vagina where they cannot be seen.
  • Repeat outbreaks may occur but tend to be shorter and less painful than the first outbreak. 
  • Outbreaks can be triggered by things such as stress, fatigue, other infections, physical injury to the genital area, or conditions that weaken the immune system. 
  • Flu-like illness with headache, fever and swollen glands occurs over half the time with the first outbreak (primary infection).

Top

4. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Genital Warts

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Genital Warts are the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the world. 

There are more than 100 types of HPV and more than 30 types are sexually transmitted. 

It is estimated that about 75% of sexually active Canadians will have at least one HPV infection during their lifetime. 

Genital warts are the most easily recognized sign of genital HPV infection.

Symptoms
  • Most people infected with HPV don't have symptoms. In others, symptoms are often so mild they don't know they are infected and may still pass the virus on to others. 
  • Genital warts are usually flesh-colored or white. They can be different sizes and shapes. 
  • They may look like a raised small cauliflower or may be flat. 
  • Like other kinds of warts, they may appear individually or in a cluster. 
  • In males, they can be found on the scrotum, penis or around the anus. 
  • In females, they may be on the vulva or around the vagina or anus or they may be hidden inside the vagina or on the cervix. 
  • Genital warts may cause pain, itching and bleeding.
Top

5. Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU)

Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) is the broad name of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that occur in males and are caused by germs other than gonorrhea bacteria. 

NGU occurs in the urethra, the tube where urine is passed from the bladder to outside the body. 

About 30% of the time, NGU is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria (which cause chlamydia). Other causes include Mycoplasma genitalium bacteria, Trichomonas vaginalis (which cause "trich") or herpes viruses. 

It is common that men may have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may take one to five weeks to show up. 

Symptoms
  • A clear to white discharge from the penis; 
  • Difficult or painful urination; 
  • Urinary frequency; 
  • Irritation at the opening of the penis.

Top

6. Pubic Lice

Pubic lice, also known as "crabs", are parasites that can live in the pubic or genital area of humans. They may also be found on coarse body hair like the thighs, chest, armpits, eyebrows or moustache/beard.

Pubic lice are different from head or body lice. Pubic lice are very small (the size of a pinhead). They are reddish-brown or light gray in colour and can be seen moving in the hair. They live for about 3 weeks. They survive for about 24 hours off the body. 

Adult pubic lice lay eggs called "nits". Nits look like small, brown dots that cannot be pulled or washed off the hair. Nits hatch after 7-10 days. 

Symptoms

  • Itchiness that is worse at night; 
  • Dark red dots on your skin or in your underwear; 
  • Visible nits or crawling lice.
Top

7. Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium treponema pallidum. 

Syphilis is spread from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Transmission occurs during vaginal, oral or anal sex.  Syphilis can be spread from mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. 

Genital sores from syphilis make it easier to spread Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (both passing it on and acquiring it). 

Symptoms

Primary Stage (the first stage) 

  • A painless sore called a chancre ("shank-er") will appear 10-90 days after infection occurs. 
  • The chancre is usually firm, round, small and painless. 
  • The sore appears where the bacteria enters the body such as the vagina, penis, mouth or anus and may not be noticed. 
  • Symptoms may be mild. 
  • Symptoms may go away without treatment, but the infection will progress to the secondary stage. 

Secondary Stage (the second stage) 
  • Starts two to four months after becoming infected and lasts for several weeks. 
  • Starts with a non-itchy rash. 
  • The rash may appear as rough, red or reddish brown spots on the palms of the hands and bottoms of the feet. 
  • Rashes with a different appearance may occur on other parts of the body. 
  • Other symptoms may be fever, swollen glands, sore throat, hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches and tiredness. 
  • The signs and symptoms will resolve without treatment, but the disease will progress to latent and possibly late stages of the disease. 

Latent and Late Stages 

  • Begins when the symptoms of the secondary stage disappear. 
  • There are no signs or symptoms (latent stage), but the disease may begin to damage the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones and joints. 
  • Symptoms may appear 10 to 20 years after infection (late stage) and may include difficulty in coordinating muscle movements, gradual blindness, dementia, and may result in death. 

The  long-term complications of Syphilis

It can damage the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones and joints. 
Syphilis in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, serious birth defects and possible death of the newborn

Top

8. Vaginal infections

Vaginal infections are a common reason for a woman to see her doctor. 

Vaginal infections are caused by bacteria (germs) that normally live in the vagina and have overgrown causing symptoms.  Things that can allow bacteria to overgrow include use of bath oils, bubble baths, douches, scented pads or tampons, poor hygiene, or use of tight, non-absorbent underwear.

The three most common vaginal infections are: 

  • yeast; 
  • bacterial vaginosis (BV); 
  • trichomoniasis (trich) 

A vaginal discharge is normal. If you have a vaginal infection you may notice a change in the color, amount or odour of the discharge.

We need your feedback to improve saskatchewan.ca. Help us improve