One of the biggest misconceptions about STDs is that you can always tell if your date has a disease. You can look at their lips or their genitals and see the evidence. Or maybe you can use your sixth sense, so to speak, and feel that something is off about them. These are all untrue.
There is no "look" when a person has a sexually transmitted disease. And while it's true that some people with an STD will show visible signs of an infection, it's certainly not true about everyone living with an STD. In many cases, the person will appear perfectly healthy and with no symptoms.
The Most Obvious STD or STI Symptoms
Some STDs will indeed show disturbing symptoms, such as genital discharge (that looks green or yellowish, or sometimes white), itching, irritation, or even pain during intercourse. There might also be an unusual odor, or it may hurt to pee.
Many people don't realize that some of the most common STDs may not show any symptoms. For example, chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HPV, and hepatitis B, are some STDs that may or may not show symptoms. Even HIV, the most feared prognosis, doesn't always show physical signs of infection.
Some STDs progress and then show symptoms much later, if at all. But many do not show, so you have many singles who believe they are STD-free but who are not. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.
Will the Doctor Tell You if You Have an STD?
Doctors or even nurse practitioners can tell if you have an STD, not by physical exam, but by a blood or urine test. There's not an easy way to know if a person has an STD just by looking at the skin. True, in some cases, it might be obvious. For instance, there are pictures of what herpes looks like when showing physical symptoms. The skin looks different than a normal rash. But it doesn't have the same look as other skin conditions.
However, keep in mind it's good to tell a doctor as soon as possible that you suspect you might have something. That way, they can administer treatment. The longer you wait and don't get tested, can do more damage.
Do People Care About STDs?
Yes and no. Some people care very much and would not date someone with an STD. But then again, many people might have HPV or herpes, and so would have no problem dating someone with the same issues.
Some people may be disease-free but would still date someone as long as they use a condom. Using a condom accurately usually does eliminate the risk of transmission, and they are ethically speaking. However, it's important to note that some people prefer disclosing an STD, particularly HIV, with no cure.
At the same time, the culture has changed dramatically within the last few decades. Now that we have vaccinations, treatments, and in some cases, full-on cures, the stigma is not nearly as bad as it used to be. Since an estimated 1 in 5 Americans is currently living with an STD (and some surveys speculate 50% of the population might eventually get an STD), hearing news of a positive test result is not the shock that it used to be in previous generations.
More education has helped people realize that some infections like herpes are just skin conditions and don't do any long-term damage besides skin irritation. With more serious diseases like HPV, much good has been done in getting people vaccinated against that particular STD.
It's good practice, in general, to get tested regularly so that you can remove all doubt and know whether or not you have an STD you were unaware of. This protects you from potentially dangerous untreated conditions and your future partners.
Dating Apps Can Help Your Search
Modern interracial dating apps can help you find a date for similar STD statuses, while sites like H-Date or Positive Singles are made specifically for users who have STDs.
This is a smart approach because you don't have to have an unpleasant conversation when everyone discloses STD status in a profile or filtered search. Everyone knows in advance of STDs, and that way, you can fast-forward to good and productive conversation.
There's no need to be awkward about it. STDs are just a fact of like, and in 2022, we know they are very common, especially among singles. Why not try to use a dating app with STD filters or an STD status dating site where you can talk openly about your life?