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Ask Dr. K

I just had sex with a new partner for the first time two days ago. Last night, my throat started hurting and I felt a little feverish. Today my throat is quite sore, and I feel flu-like symptoms. I have often heard that for a lot of STDs, flu-like symptoms are the only indication women get of infection. Should I be worried about STDs, or is this too early to be the symptom of STD infection?

Symptoms of STDs can show up at any time from the day after contact with an infected person up to 90 days afterwards, depending on which STD we're talking about. In many cases, it can take much longer for symptoms to appear because the first symptoms may be so mild that you don't even realize they're evidence of an STD. In more than half the cases of people who get STDs, there are no symptoms at all.

Symptoms that appear within 48 hours of sex could be from a bacterial STD like gonorrhea. Within 3-5 days, herpes infections can present themselves, while chlamydia usually takes about a week and syphilis weeks to months. Also remember, depending on the time of year, many non-specific symptoms -- fever, fatigue, headaches and sore throat -- are most often due to common colds. But if you are still worried, go to your doctor or a local STD clinic to get the full work-up of tests so you will know for sure and can have peace of mind.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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