Yes, You Can Have An STD In Your Butt—The Signs You Should Know

By Zahra Barnes | Published February 1, 2017 on Self | Featuring Dr. Sherry Ross

Anal chlamydia and gonorrhea are here to debunk the common myth that when sexually transmitted diseases strike, your vagina will let you know. No matter what you’ve heard before, STDs can affect many body parts, including your vagina, your mouth (herpes-induced cold sores, anyone?), and yes, your anus. But since people often don’t expect to get STDs, much less ones that show up anally, it’s easy to miss the signs you may have contracted one, doctors say. Here, a quick primer on what to look for, plus some essential tips on how to stay safe.

There are various types of anal STDs, but some are more obvious than others.

One STD that can present anally is herpes, an extremely common infection caused by either the herpes simplex 1 or herpes simplex 2 virus. The latter is usually (but not always) behind genital herpes, which affects around 1 out of every 6 people between the ages of 14 and 49, while around two-thirds of the global population under 50 has HSV-1. Sometimes herpes is asymptomatic, but if you get it anally and you actually have symptoms, you’ll notice the STD’s characteristic lesions. They’re usually painful and look like little blisters, so they’re hard to ignore, board-certified doctor of internal medicine Ehsan Ali, M.D., of Beverly Hills Concierge, tells SELF.

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