What Are the STDs That Cause Dry Skin?

Do you have dry or itchy skin? If so, you may have an STD. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) sometimes cause overt and unmistakable symptoms like sores, rashes, and genital pain, although some people experience other symptoms like dry skin around the body. 

At Rapid STD Testing, we want to educate you about STDs that cause dry skin so you can better understand STDs’ potential effects upon your health. Continue reading to learn more about each, or explore our additional resources on contracting an STD while wearing a condom and understanding Neisseria meningitis

What STD Causes Dry Skin?

Many STDs create external reactions, causing your skin to break out in painful or painless lumps, sores, lesions, and rashes.

Occasionally, infected individuals may get dry skin rashes instead of noticeable bumps. A skin rash may not seem serious at the time, though if it comes from an STD, you should seek treatment options to prevent further disease progression. 

So, what STD causes dry skin? Continue reading below to learn about each STD and the underlying non-sexual contact conditions that could cause the dryness symptom. 


HPV, HSV, and HIV are all viruses that lead to some of the conditions we have discussed above. 

  • HPV: Human papillomavirus infection causes itchy warts on the skin, usually around the genitals and anus. 
  • HSV: Herpes simplex virus causes herpes, which can create dry rashes around the mouth or genitals, depending on if you have type one or two. 
  • HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus can cause AIDS, a severe condition with many side effects, including dry, itchy skin. 

HPV and Genital Warts

Human papillomavirus infection (HPV) causes genital warts. Genital warts usually appear in clusters as small, skin-colored bumps around the vagina, penis, or anus. Usually, the entire infected area feels itchy and painful. 

If the skin around your genitals feels itchy, but you don’t notice bumps, you could still be in the developing stages of genital warts. At first, the lesions appear no larger than razor bumps, so you might not yet realize your condition. 

We recommend taking a rapid STD test any time you feel unusual itching or burning around your genitals or anus so that you can protect yourself and your sexual partner. You can purchase testing kits from Rapid STD Testing. 

Herpes (HSV)

Herpes is a viral infection stemming from the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Two types of herpes exist, including oral and genital herpes. Each causes small warts around the affected area, though occasionally, people also suffer itchy, dry skin and rashes. 

Herpes spreads through skin-to-skin contact, which means that condoms aren’t always effective if they don’t cover the entire contagious region. You can even get oral herpes from sharing drinks. 

Herpes-positive individuals may experience anything from zero reactions to severe conditions causing fevers and swollen lymph nodes. Contracting herpes increases your likelihood of eczema herpeticum, a serious skin infection causing itching, tingling, and burning sensations around the neck and head. 


If you contract human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), you may develop acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a life-threatening condition. HIV damages your immune system, so if you develop AIDS, your body will struggle to fight off many dangerous bacteria and viruses. 

HIV spreads through body fluids, including blood and genital secretion. You can contract HIV through sexual intercourse or sharing dirty needles. Because of the prevalence and severity of AIDS, providers now offer HIV preventative medications for higher-risk individuals. 

Like other STDs that cause dry skin, AIDS has many side effects, including itchy rashes. If you notice internal symptoms alongside your itchy skin, you should get tested for HIV. 


Syphilis is another flaky-skin STD, though the symptoms usually appear later. The bacterial infection spreads through sexual contact and first appears as small hard lumps on the genital or mouth regions. Once the lumps disappear, Stage Two syphilis causes a dry, itchy rash. 

Usually, the rash appears three to six weeks after onset. You may notice patches around the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands. People also sometimes suffer flu-like symptoms when the rash appears.

Unfortunately, many people confuse Stage Two syphilis with other conditions. When left untreated, syphilis spreads into vital areas of the body, including the eyes, brain, and nervous system. Latent-stage syphilis is often fatal. 

Other Possible Causes of Dry Skin

Aside from STDs, many different conditions can make your skin itchy. Anything from a fungal infection to chronic eczema (seborrheic dermatitis) could cause irritation and dryness. If your STD screening returns negative, we recommend seeing a dermatologist to rule out the following conditions. 

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections often mimic the symptoms of STDs that cause dry skin, making it hard to determine which you have. Vaginal yeast infections come from the fungus candida, causing severe itchiness, inflammation, and thick, white vaginal discharge. You can also get oral yeast infections, though you likely won’t have an exterior rash. 

You can easily resolve a yeast infection with a single-dose antifungal cream or oral drug. If you wait too long, you might need additional treatments to rid your body of the infection. 

Often, STDs cause foul-smelling discharge and clusters of lumps. The best signifiers to distinguish between yeast infections and STDs are the lack of lumps and the distinctly odorless discharge of STDs. 

Jock Itch

Tinea cruris, commonly called jock itch, is a fungal infection that causes red itchy rashes. The infection earned its name because it typically appears in hot, moist areas like the groin, inner thighs, and genitals. You can also get jock itch in your armpits, beneath your breasts, or in other sweaty areas. 

Usually, the jock itch rash appears in ring shapes. You can prevent it by wearing loose clothes and breathable materials. If you get jock itch, you can treat it with topical antifungal medications. 


Psoriasis is a common chronic condition that causes large patches of dry, itchy skin around the scalp, knees, elbows, and trunk. The rashes typically worsen after triggering events like stress, colds, and infections. Occasionally, people with psoriasis may also experience joint pain or nail problems. 

Psoriasis happens when skin cells build up too quickly, causing them to form scaly dry patches. Unfortunately, you can’t cure the disease, though different treatments can alleviate symptoms and reduce the overproducing skin cells. 

Importance of Awareness of Dry Skin STD

Learning about each dry skin STD may seem unimportant, though such education can save lives. The key to beating or managing any disease is early diagnosis. When STDs progress for months or years without interference, they may travel deeper into the body, damaging vital organs and systems. 

For example, syphilis appears as a simple rash in the beginning. The rash goes away on its own, so people usually think nothing of it. Years later, though, the disease comes back in full force, attacking the nervous system, eyes, and brain, potentially killing the victim.  

Skin conditions are challenging to understand on your own, especially when many mimic each other’s symptoms. Attempting to self-diagnose and treat bacterial and viral infections usually won’t work. Understanding how the different STDs that cause dry skin act and appear can help you know when you should see a doctor and get tested. 

The more you spread awareness of common STD symptoms, the more people will successfully resolve their untreated conditions. Learning what the symptoms look like can also help you identify potential contagious spots on a sexual partner. For example, your partner may believe they have a yeast infection, though if you see a cluster of bumps, you’ll know to practice extra caution as it might be herpes or something similar. 

Follow these tips to spread awareness:

  • Encourage your sexual partners to receive regular screenings
  • Help partners understand treatment options if results come back positive
  • Start open conversations about STD-related subjects
  • Expand your knowledge on the topic with more articles like this one
  • Share information and tips with your online community and friends
  • Make your friends and partners feel safe if they need to come to you for advice
  • Erase any negative STD perceptions you have

Risk Factors of STDs That Cause Dry Skin

You can contract an STD that causes dry skin in several ways. The main risk factors for herpes, syphilis, AIDS, and genital warts include:

  • Having protected or unprotected sex with an infected person
  • Engaging with multiple sexual partners in a short period
  • Using contraceptives incorrectly
  • Having an existing sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Engaging in sex with a compromised immune system from AIDS or other conditions
  • Injecting drugs with unsanitary needles
  • Having sex at a young age
  • Doing drugs or consuming excessive alcohol before having sex
  • Living in an area with a high concentration of sex workers

Many people don’t avoid all the bullet points above because they don’t understand the true ramifications of contracting an STD. The STDs that cause dry skin often lead to other, more severe issues when left untreated. 

  • Herpes: Herpes causes open sores in your genital region, which increases your chances of contracting additional STDs, like HIV and AIDS. Severe herpes complications include bladder problems, meningitis, rectal inflammation, and pregnancy complications. Newborns can get herpes from their mothers during delivery, causing infant blindness, brain damage, and death. 
  • Syphilis: Syphilis leads to some of the most severe complications when untreated, including skin, bone, liver, and organ tumors. When the infection attacks the nervous system, individuals suffer neurological problems like strokes, blindness, dementia, bladder dysfunction, loss of sensations, and hearing loss. Syphilis may also spread into the aorta artery and also cause stillbirths (if pregnant). 
  • AIDS: AIDS compromises your body’s ability to fight off common bacteria and viruses, placing you at an increased risk for many severe illnesses and diseases. 
  • Genital warts: Genital warts come in a few different strains, one of which causes cervical cancer, which can be fatal. People with genital warts also have increased risks of contracting other STDs because of the open wounds. 

Treatment and Prevention of Dry Skin Due to STDs

The best treatment for STDs that cause dry skin is to avoid catching them altogether. Practicing safe sex maintains your health and reduces the overall public spread of such dangerous conditions. You can do your part by adhering to the following recommendations:

  • Use a condom during all sexual activities
  • Replace the condom if it slips or tears
  • Minimize your number of sexual partners
  • Wash before, during, and after sex
  • Use a separate clean-up towel from your partner
  • Don’t touch anything with open wounds, sores, or cuts
  • Receive regular 10-panel STD test screenings
  • Get tested if you notice symptoms

If results do come back positive, don’t fret. The earlier you learn of your condition, the easier it will be to treat. The common treatment options for all of the STDs that cause dry skin are:

  • Herpes: Doctors don’t have a herpes cure, though you can take an antiviral medication to reduce symptoms as they appear. Acyclovir or valacyclovir are common antiviral drugs that minimize herpes outbreaks. 
  • Syphilis: You can be 100% cured from the earlier stages of syphilis with a long-acting Benzathine penicillin G single injection. If you wait until the final stage, you can take multiple doses of this medication to attempt to rid your body of the infection, though it won’t always work. 
  • AIDS: HIV and AIDS don’t have cures, though different treatments reduce the virus’s effectiveness in your body, thus alleviating some symptoms. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) helps slow the disease’s progress and prolong your life. 
  • Genital warts: Topical anti-tumor medications can help you get rid of genital warts faster, or you can surgically remove the larger lesions. You can also get a vaccine against the HPV strain that causes cervical cancer. 

Are STDs Causing Your Itchy Skin? Get Tested Today!

STDs that cause dry skin are dangerous because many victims don’t understand the gravity of their condition. At Rapid STD Testing, we want to educate you about all STDs so you can get tested, treated, and stay safe. Order same-day STD testing from Rapid STD Testing or call us at (866) 872-1888 to speak with our team for more information!