About STDs

There are a number of STDs (meaning sexually transmitted diseases), such as: 

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Lues
  • Hepatitis B
  • HIV
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Genital warts
  • Herpes
  • A urethral infection
  • Scabies
  • Pubic lice

With whom and how often?

Anyone who has unprotected sex can contract an STD.
STDs are detected more often in men who have sex with men, sex workers and young people under the age of 25.STDs are detected more often and faster because the number of people who have themselves tested is increasing.
66% of all STD consultations in the Netherlands take place at the GP. The remainder are performed by STD clinics.
More than 18% of the tests performed by general practitioners or STD clinics actually found an STD.

  • Chlamydia is most common: 14.5%
  • Gonorrhea: heterosexual men and women around 1.5% and homosexual men around 11.3%
  • Syphilis: heterosexual men and women between 0.019% and 0.07%, and homosexual men around 11.3%
  • HIV: 0.05% heterosexual men and women and 0.8% homosexual men

Incubation time and window phase
The incubation time of an STD says something about the period that elapses between the actual infection and the first clinical (ie laboratory-detectable) symptoms.
The window phase indicates after which period an infection can be detected with sufficient certainty by testing.

The incubation time and window phase according to NHG standards for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV are shown below.
In case of complaints, however, it is always recommended to test earlier and if that test result is negative, it is recommended for chlamydia and gonorrhea to retest after 3 weeks and for syphilis and HIV to retest after 3 months. 

Chlamydia is the most common STD. The proportion of chlamydia in men and women is stable among general practitioners. Recent research shows that in Groningen 24% of the tests give a positive chlamydia result, so that's pratically a quarter of all tests!

Incubation time: 1-3 weeks
Window period: 3 weeks


This STD mainly occurs in homosexual men. There is also an increase in the number of people being diagnosed with gonorrhea among general practitioners. This increase was mainly among people older than 25 years.

Incubation time: 2-14 days (average of 8 days)
Window period: 3 weeks

Almost all cases (95%) of syphilis occur in homosexual men. The number of diagnosed cases among women and heterosexual men was extremely low in 2017.

Incubation time: 10-90 days
Window period: 3 months

In 2017, more than 1,000 new people with HIV came to the Dutch HIV treatment centers. The number of new HIV infections is slowly decreasing. Two thirds of HIV infections are diagnosed in homosexual men.

Incubation time: max. 3 months
Window period: 3 months

Surprisingly, the number of STD consultations has decreased further among GPs. People need to rely on their own risk for an STD test at the general practitioner and they may therefore refrain from doing so.
In addition, buying online STD tests is popular. However, these self-tests are usually unreliable, according to research by RIVM and SoaAids Nederland. Read more

For information and more numbers on this topic, visit the website of the Ministry of Health.