Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (also 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. Adolescents and young adults (15-24) are the age groups at the greatest risk for acquiring an STD, with 3 million becoming infected each year.

STDs can have severe consquences, 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.

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.

Herpes Virus

Herpes is another STD that presently has no cure. However, treatment is available and there are a number of things you can do yourself at home to help relieve your genital herpes. Herpes symptoms include blisters or sores that periodically break out on the genitals.


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.


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.


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 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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