Symptoms of sexually transmitted infections

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How can we help you?


I am frightened- I had extramarital sex and need advice



I would like to do a check-up of all sexually transmitted diseases



I need information about clinical psychology at Open House



I would like information on the symptoms of HIV & AIDS and its transmission


I want to learn more about hepatitis (A, B & C)


I want to know about warts and papillomavirus

Open the tab relevant to the symptoms you are experiencing to understand how we go about investigating them at Open House.

Open House offers you a rapid guide to symptoms that we see in our clinic following sexual contact. It is not designed to be fully comprehensive, rather to give you some background information.

Click on the symptoms you are experiencing to understand how we go about investigating it in Open House.


  • Ulcers in the genital area
  • Irritation of the forehead or foreskin of the penis
  • Vaginal Symptoms
  • Sore Throat
  • Stinging inside the penis
  • Skin Rashes
  • Symptoms in the anus and rectum
  • Symptoms of flu or general unwellness
Ulcers in the genital area

Genital ulcers may or may not be due to a sexually transmitted disease. In fact, if you look at the graph on the right, you will see that normally they are not.

For a doctor, in order to direct the investigation correctly we need to know more about the ulcer and what it looks like. Here you can find examples of what we mean:

In Open House…

We are able to differentiate an ulcer which is a sexually transmitted disease from other ulcers in a consultation, because we have the clinical experience and tests available. If you are worried, don’t hesitate to call us and make an appointment

Irritation of the forehead or foreskin of the penis

Redness of the penis is something we see often in Open House but is almost never associated with a sexually transmitted disease.

As you can see in the graph, more than 70% of all redness in penises that we have seen is due to fungal infections (thrush) which is not normally a sexually transmitted disease.

Fungal Infections (Thrush) 

At Open House we see many cases of thrush infecting the head of the penis or the foreskin. It’s usually itchy and produces a white paste.

Often it has happened following sex, but it is not correct to say  that the person caught it during sex. They are usually your own yeasts that have decided to appear and cause infection.

If you book an appointment with our doctor we can sort this out for you quickly.

Allergic reaction and dermatitis

In cases where the penis goes red after sex this is often an allergic reaction to the bodily fluids of the other person, or spermicides etc.. Similarly, many kinds of dermatitis (excema, psoriasis etc.) as decide to appear randomly in the genital area. Itching or stinging is common but tends not to be overwhelming.

Other causes and syphilis

Obviously there are many other causes of this type of symptom and not all of them are due to sexually transmitted disease. There is a rare and peculiar presentation of syphilis that sometimes can produce redness on the penis.

The only way to be certain of what we are dealing with is to book an appointment with our doctor. As we have said elsewhere in this website, we do have particular interest in syphilis.

Vaginal Symptoms

Vaginal symptoms that we see in Open House include itching, soreness, stinging when peeing, changes in secretions (amount texture or smell) bleeding between periods or painful sex, amongst others. Obviously we may well think first of sexually transmitted diseases.

Open House it’s not a specialist gynaecological clinic, so we see our task as excluding sexually transmitted diseases first before passing the case on to a specialist.

Gonorrhoea, chlamydia, mycoplasma, ureaplasma and trichomonas,

Any of these may be involved.

Sore Throat

There are only two sexually transmitted diseases that can infect the throat and cause pharyngitis (gonorrhoea and chlamydia) but in Open House we only see these two infections in about 2% of all cases. As you can see in the graph, cold and flu viruses are the most common cause of this type of symptom.

In some websites you can read that HIV produces pharyngitis, but as our graph shows, we have never diagnosed this infection in people with a sore throat.

If you do one of the following searches, you could easily believe that you have HIV, diabetes or leukaemia…

“diabetes pharyngitis ” or “leukaemia pharyngitis” or “HIV pharyngitis”

… in other words, Internet can be a source of concern if we’re having sex, if we have a relative with diabetes or if we have lost a friend to leukaemia, and doing the test is what will quash this doubt.

Stinging inside the penis

Symptoms like stinging inside the penis means that the urethra (the tube inside) is irritated and we call this “dysuria”.

Dysuria can be caused by sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea or chlamydia (especially if this is accompanied by pus or liquid coming out of the penis) and sometimes mycoplasma, ureaplasma or trichomonas. There are also other causes such as inflammation, trauma etc. You can read more by following our links.

As you can see in the graph, it’s not true that all cases of dysuria are due to sexually transmitted diseases, but in Open House we do the relevant tests to differentiate one situation from the other.

Skin Rashes

The only sexually transmitted disease that we see in Open House that produces skin rashes is secondary syphilis.

Very occasionally we see scabies, a parasitic infection.

All other skin rashes we have seen in Open House were not due to sexually transmitted infections, as shown in the graph. Despites what you may have read on the Internet that HIV produces rashes, we have never diagnosed this diseases with this symptom.

We consider our syphilis test to be highly sensitive, and so if there is any doubt, we can always do this test to exclude this infection.

Symptoms in the anus and rectum

Symptoms that you could feel may be from the anus (the outside part and just immediately inside) or in the rectum (deeper inside).

  • – pain or soreness on the outside,
  • – itching, or feeling a lump or something else.

If you look at the graph, you can see that pain or soreness are the symptoms most likely to be due to a sexually  transmitted infections.

  • – deep pain,
  • – secretions or mucous,
  • – blood,
  • – the need to carry on defaecating even though there is nothing left,

and these are all linked to sexually transmitted infections (and especially to gonorrhoea or chlamydia). You can see in our graph on the right that it is very likely that there is an infection if these symptoms are present.

Symptoms of flu or general unwellness

Many of our clients come to see us because they think they are experiencing the early symptoms of HIV (also called seronversion).

We try to differentiate between three distinct situations: seroconversion symptoms, flu or cold symptoms or general unwellness caused by stress.

Look at our comparison of these three categories and you’ll see that it is very difficult to distinguish between one thing and the other by the symptoms.

As can be seen in the first graph these symptoms are almost never due to a sexually transmitted infection.

Confused by what you’ve read? Three suggestions

How can we help you?



Call us for an appointment and we make the decision on which is the appropriate test together.

Please trust our clinical judgement. We have now done more than 50,000 STI tests at Open House.

Caution! It is important that you read the information in this page about the window period before taking a decision about doing a test.

What would you like to do now?


I am frightened- I had extramarital sex and need advice



I would like to do a check-up of all sexually transmitted diseases



I need information about clinical psychology at Open House



I would like information on the symptoms of HIV & AIDS and its transmission


I want to learn more about hepatitis (A, B & C)


I want to know about warts and papillomavirus

Where to find us

Calle Atocha 117, Madrid

Metro: L1 Atocha / Antón Martín

Contact Us

Call Us - 91 429 49 59

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Centro Médico Openhouse SLU 2018 ®

Centro Médico Openhouse SLU 2018 ®