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STDs in the Philippines: Everything You Need to Know

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Kathy Kenny Ylaya Ngo · Updated Sep 20

    STDs in the Philippines: Everything You Need to Know

    What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases? 

    Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diseases that can spread from one person to another via sexual intercourse. These also spread through sharing of needles, or having contaminated blood enter a person’s system via transfusion or an opening on the skin. STDs or STIs (sexually transmitted infections), are caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Samples of these are trichomoniasis, HIV, chlamydia, and syphilis.

    How common are STDs?

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 77,000 people in the Philippines have been living with HIV as of 2018.

    HIV, syphilis, human papillomavirus (HPV), and herpes simplex virus (HSV) are some of the most common STDs in the Philippines.

    STDs in the Philippines statistics published by the WHO show that more than a million people in the Philippines from ages 15 to 49 contracted STDs. This makes STDs in the Philippines a persistent and endemic health threat.

    Every year, more than 376 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis are documented. In addition, 127 million new cases of chlamydia were reported in 2016. This was along with 87 million with gonorrhea, 6.3 million with syphilis, and 156 million with trichomoniasis. STDs in the Philippines statistics show the importance of educating people about sexual health.

    What are the symptoms of STDs?

    Most STDs do not exhibit symptoms, but for those that do, it can be in the form of any of the following:

  • Burning sensation when you urinate
  • Bumps, warts, or sores near your mouth, vagina, anus, or penis
  • Aches, pains, chills, and fever
  • Abnormal discharge from your penis or vagina
  • Hepatitis B, yellowing of the skin caused by jaundice
  • When should I see my doctor?

    If you think that you have contracted an STD or STI and you are sexually active, consult your doctor immediately. Most STDs or STIs are treatable. It is best to consult a doctor and not self medicate. HIV is also now manageable and treatable, preventing it from developing into full-blown AIDs. Early detection and treatment is best for all STDs.

    What causes STDs?

    There are three major causes of STDs:

    • Parasites like trichomoniasis or insects like crab lice get into the pubic hair and can transfer from person-to-person during sexual intercourse
    • Viruses such as herpes simplex virus, hepatitis B, Zika virus, as well as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and human papillomavirus (HPV)
    • Bacteria, which are present in STDs like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia

    Risk factors

    What increases my risk for STDs? 

    STDs in the Philippines statistics shows the need to further educate the people about sexual health and STD risks and causes. Several behaviors increase the likelihood of someone contracting STDs or STIs. These include:

    Unprotected sex

    Engaging in oral, vaginal, or anal sex without protection. Sexual intercourse without using a condom increases the chance of getting infected with an STD.

    Multiple sexual partners

    Sexual intercourse with multiple partners. The more sexual partners you have, the more you are at risk of becoming infected with STDs or STIs.

    Sexual assault

    If you are a victim of assault, you need to see a doctor immediately. This is so that you can be screened for possible STDs or infections, as well as receive emotional support.

    Abuse of illegal substances

    People who misuse alcohol and recreational drugs are more at risk, because they tend to involve themselves in risky sexual activities.

    Diagnosis & Treatment

    The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

    How are STDs diagnosed? 

    Doctors are not usually able to clinically diagnose an STD based on the symptoms alone. In addition, a lot of STDs do not show symptoms. If you have been sexually active, doctors can recommend tests for STDs even if there are no apparent symptoms.

    Doctors can recommend a urine test, a blood test, or a swab of your genitals or sores if there are any. Never self diagnose or self medicate. Treatment varies depending on the type of STD or STI that you have. Bacterial STDs are treated with antibiotics. Viral STDs are treated in various ways, with the objective to relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of passing it on. Parasites are treated with oral or topical medications.

    How are STDs treated? 

    Most of the STDs common in the Philippines are curable and treatable with the use of antibiotics. However, the greater problem lies in the fact that most of these infections do not have symptoms. Most people do not even realize that they are infected and spread the disease to others through unprotected sex.

    Here are the treatments for the most common STDs:


    The most fatal among all STDs in the Philippines is AIDs. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of the infection. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system has been badly damaged by the virus.

    In an article dated October 2019, it was stated by the United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) that the Philippines has the fastest growing number of cases of HIV in the world.

    The use of condoms may help prevent the spread of HIV. The highest risk for getting HIV is participating in anal sex without the use of condoms. Sharing of syringes or needles is another way it may spread. You can also use HIV prevention medications known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to ensure that you will not contract the disease.


    This is a bacterial infection that starts out as a painful sore either in your genitals, rectum, or mouth. Syphilis may become inactive for decades, and then resurface without warning. Syphilis can be treated easily if detected early.

    If not treated, it can damage the organs of the body. This includes the heart or the brain, and can become life-threatening. It can also spread from mothers to unborn children.


    Gonorrhea can spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, or even oral sex. This infects both men and women. Just like syphilis, a pregnant woman can pass gonorrhea on to her unborn child. You can avoid having this by practicing abstinence or monogamy with your partner. It also helps to use a latex condom in every sexual encounter.

    Safe Sex 

    Unsafe sexual practices are the number one reason for the spread of STDs in the Philippines. A 2004 Human Rights Watch study reported how the Catholic Church’s stance against condoms influences the country’s predominantly Catholic population. However, condoms are the most effective way to ensure that you do not contract STDs.

    How the Digital Age Is Affecting STDs in the Philippines

    The WHO is very concerned with how fast the numbers of STD cases are rising in the Philippines. They believe that dating apps are making it easier for people to spread STDs in the Philippines.

    It appears that as sex becomes more readily available, and with antiviral treatments becoming more accessible, people are becoming more complacent about using protection.

    Key Takeaway

    If you are sexually active and suspect that you have an STD, consult your doctor. It is important that a doctor diagnose and treat you immediately. Fortunately, most STDs are curable. Though health workers will ask for more details about your condition and sexual history, rest assured that they will not share your identity and your case with others. They will not share information without your consent, guaranteeing your privacy in these matters.

    Learn more about sexual wellness here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Kathy Kenny Ylaya Ngo · Updated Sep 20

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