Sexually Transmitted Diseases

General Facts About STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases, called STDs, or STIs for sexually transmitted infections, are infections that can be transferred from one person to another through sexual contact. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 15 million cases of sexually transmitted disease cases reported annually in the United States. There are more than 25 diseases that are transmitted through sexual activity. Other than HIV, the most common STDs in the United States are chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes, human papillomavirus, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis. Adolescents and young adults are the age groups at the greatest risk for acquiring an STD. Approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among people ages 15 to 24.

What Are The Effects of STDs

Some STDs can have severe consequences, especially in women, if not treated, which is why it is so important to go for STD testing. Some STDs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility, while others may even be fatal. STDs can be prevented by refraining from sexual activity, and to a certain extent, some contraceptive devices, such as condoms.

Specific STDs: An Overview

Human Papilloma Virus: The human papilloma virus is thought to be one of the main causes of cervical cancer. It has also been linked with other types of cancers of the female reproductive system. While HPV can be treated to reduce the signs and symptoms, there is currently no cure for this virus. However, the HPV vaccine has recently been developed to prevent HPV infection.  Also learn more about genital wart treatment.

Herpes Virus:Herpes is another STD that presently has no cure. Or is there a cure for Herpes? Today, treatment is available and there are a number of things you can do yourself at home to help relieve your genital herpes, as well as natural herpes treatment. Herpes symptoms include blisters or sores that periodically break out on the genitals. Take a look at our FAQs on genital herpes to learn even more about this uncomfortable STD.

Hepatitis: Although there is no cure for those already infected, there is now a Hepatitis B (HBV) vaccine available to prevent the spread of this infection. Many are asymptomatic, however those who do suffer from Hepatitis B symptoms may have many unpleasant discomforts. Even though there is a possibility that the infection will clear up on its own, some people suffer from chronic infections for many years. Treatment is available for chronic sufferers. Other types of hepatitis infections that can be passed through sexual contact include Hepatitis A and Hepatitis C.

HIV/AIDS: One STD that many people are worried about getting is HIV. While new ways of treating this infection can significantly prolong an infected person's life, for far too many people this infection eventually progresses to AIDS and, ulitmately, death. More than 40 million people worldwide are infected with the HIV virus; women account for 50% of those infected. Recently, studies have found a link between the use of hormonal birth control and HIV. In the US, African Americans account for a disproportionate number of HIV cases. Many people may not realize they are infected, as the HIV virus is often asymptomatic for the first few years. HIV testing is the only sure way to know if you are infected. However, you can take steps to help prevent the infection. Find out about a new method that could prevent an HIV infection in women using the cervical cap and microbicides.

Syphilis: Throughout history, cases of syphilis have been recorded. While this STD has not always been effectively dealt with, nowadays, syphilis can easily be treated and cured. However, as history has shown, without treatment, syphilis symptoms can progress and affect the nervous system and brain leading to dementia and even death.

Trichomoniasis:Trichomoniasis is one of the most common, curable STDs out there. However, symptoms of trich may be mistaken for a yeast infection causing a women to use the wrong type of treatment for her vaginal discharge.

Common Infections:Chlamydia and gonorrhea often infect a person at the same time. Although the symptoms of chlamydia are different from gonorrhea symptoms, it is not unusual for a person to be asymptomatic. If you are testing for chlamydia, it may be a good idea to also test for gonorrhea at the same time. Both STDs can be cured but can also do damage to your reproductive system if left untreated.

Pubic Lice: A very common STD, crabs are very similar to head lice. While the itchy symptoms can be hard to miss, treatment for pubic lice can easily take care of the discomfort these pests can cause.

Rare Infections: Some STDs, like granuloma inguinale and chancroid, are not so well known in North America, but that doesn't mean your not at risk of contracting these infections. Other lesser-talked about STDs include nongonococcal urethritis, molluscum contagiosum, and lymphogranuloma venereum.

Make No Mistake

Sometimes STD symptoms can be confused with mononucleosis. Characterized by a fever, sore throat, and extreme weakness, mono is a viral infection that needs to be treated right away. If you think you have the illness, seek mono treatment as soon as possible. Also, yeast infection can cause painful itching and burning, and can even be transmitted sexually.


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I have to agree with Kelly34. It's really scary when you think about STD's. I remember when I first hit puberty I was told that sex was wonderful, and that it was completely natural. I mean, how couldn't it be? It's the reason we're all alive. Every living creature on this world is a product of sex. And having sex with someone you care about is wonderful. but there's so many STD's out there that it makes it seem scary instead. At the least, this guide's helped me a lot with giving me some more information.
6 years ago
I've had a painful burning sensation in my vulva area now for 5 days and for the first few days a thick yellow mucus discharge with a light pink/light brown thinner discharge but NO ODOR. The first part of the week it was very painful while I urinated, but the constant pain and discomfort I am feeling is far from norm. I can hardly sit down in a chair! I went to the OB/GYN Dr and he diagnosed me as having Bacterial Vaginosis and prescribed metronidazole. I have taken it for two days now and the pain and discomfort is still there although the discharge has been getting less. I would like to know if you think he could have mis-diagnosed my problem? I had unprotected sex on Sun, soaked in a tub Monday night, woke up Tues morning in so much pain while urinating with this weird discharge. I have never experienced anything like this before and wanted to get your opinion on it.
7 years ago
I'm getting bumps on my private area & I wanted to know what they were !? & how could I prevent them from keep coming back ?
9 years ago
So that's what that rash iS!!!
10 years ago
my brother has a yellowish secretion in his penis and i think he has a std i am worried that he can transmit the virus to us specially my children....i am very depressed i cant even sleep i need help....
10 years ago