In terms of STDs, the first thing most people think of is burning. It can either be a burning sensation when urinating, or just a general tingling or burning feeling in the genital region. And, to be fair, a burning sensation is a common symptom for some of the more common STDs including Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Herpes. Conversely, burning could be a just a symptom of a common urinary tract infection (UTI), especially if you are a female.
However, burning is not the only symptom of having an STD. Unusual and/or increased discharge is another common symptom that may be overlooked especially if it is odorless or colorless. Additional symptoms include pain during sexual intercourse, anal itching, swollen or painful testicles, strong vaginal odors, fever, as well as small bumps, blisters, or sores.
The truly scary part is that a significant number of people with an STD will experience no symptoms, and may not until the disease has progressed to the point of damaging the internal sex organs which can lead to sterility in both men and women.
You may ask what do I need to do to protect myself? The answer is fairly straightforward: Use condoms consistently and correctly every time you have sexual relations. Unfortunately, though, condoms are not 100% effective so we recommend that sexually active individuals that are not in a monogamous relationship get tested on a regular basis or at least yearly.