A sexually transmitted disease (STD), also known as sexually transmitted infection (STI) or venereal disease (VD), is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans or animals by means of sexual contact, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex. While in the past, these illnesses have mostly been referred to as STDs or VD, in recent years the term sexually transmitted disease (STD) has been preferred, as it has a broader range of meaning; a person may be infected, and may potentially infect others, without showing signs of disease. Some STDs can also be transmitted via use of an IV drug needle after its use by an infected person, as well as through childbirth or breastfeeding.
Most Common STDs:
* HIV/AIDS is viral infection that can be transmitted sexually, from mother to baby during birth or through infected blood. There are presently no cures for these diseases but they can be managed with antivirals and other medicines. HIV/AIDS can destroy a person's natural disease resistance system leaving him or her vulnerable to a number of different conditions.
HIV/AIDS can cause many non-specific symptoms like fatigue and abdominal discomfort.
* Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease. Vaccine is available to prevent contracting Hepatitis B, which can also be transmitted via infected blood.
Hepatitis B can cause many non-specific symptoms like fatigue and abdominal discomfort.
* Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Caused by bacteria, it results in a genital infection and must be treated with antibiotics. It can lead to chronic pelvic pain and infertility if not treated with antibiotics because it can spread to other pelvic organs. Your sexual partner will need to be treated also.
Chlamydia can cause vaginal discharge, painful urination, or pelvic pain. Or they can have no symptoms at all.
* Herpes genitalis is another common STD. It is a viral infection and doesn't lead to chronic pelvic pain or infertility, but it can cause a very painful and disturbing genital blisters. Antiviral medications can be prescribed that will reduce pain and discomfort. There is no cure for the infection itself, although it may be dormant indefinitely.
Herpes usually causes painful, tender blisters on the vaginal or perineal skin. Often the woman with herpes also will experience flu-like feelings or a headache, or swollen glands.
* Venereal or genital warts (or condyloma accuminata) are caused by a virus. They also can cause abnormal pap smears. Creams and some other medicines can cause the warty tissue to disappear but the warts may recur.
Genital warts often cause itchy or non-itchy bumps on the vaginal or perineal skin. The woman may feel the warts while bathing.
* Gonorrhea is another common STD. It is caused by bacteria and can be treated with an antibiotic. The woman and her partner both need to be treated. Women often don't have symptoms but a vaginal discharge or painful urination may occur. Men are more likely to have discharge and painful urination. Untreated, gonorrhea can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious complications.
gonorrhea can cause vaginal discharge, painful urination, or pelvic pain. Or they can have no symptoms at all.
* Trichomonas may cause a woman to experience foul discharge and extreme itching. It can be treated with antibiotic. Partners need to be treated too.
Trichomonas usually causes an itchy, foul discharge.
* Syphilis is not as common as the above diseases but can have very serious consequences for women and their babies. It is caused by bacteria and can be treated by antibiotics. The woman and her partner need to be treated.
Syphilis can cause a painless ulcer, but often there will be no obvious symptoms.
|Common signs/symptoms of STDs|
|* Itching around the vagina and/or discharge from the vagina for women|
|* Discharge from the penis for men|
|* Pain during sex or when urinating|
|* Pain in the pelvic area|
|* Sore throats in people who have oral sex|
|* Pain in or around the anus for people who have anal sex|
|* Chancre sores (painless red sores) on the genital area, anus, tongue and/or throat|
|* A scaly rash on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet|
|* Dark urine, loose, light-colored stools, and yellow eyes and skin|
|* Small blisters that turn into scabs on the genital area|
|* Swollen glands, fever and body aches|
|* Unusual infections, unexplained fatigue, night sweats and weight loss|
|* Soft, flesh-colored warts around the genital area|
Should I be checked for STDs?
Go to your doctor if you're at risk for having an STD, if you have any of the symptoms listed above, or if you have concerns about whether you have one. STDs can cause problems if left untreated.
For example, chlamydia can lead to problems that can cause women not to be able to have children. HPV can lead to cancer of the cervix or penis, and syphilis can lead to paralysis, mental problems, heart damage, blindness and death.
How are STDs diagnosed?
Most STDs can be diagnosed through an exam by the doctors, a culture of the secretions from your vagina or penis, or through a blood test.
Can STDs be prevented?
The only sure way to prevent STDs is by not having sex. If you have sex, you can lower your risk of getting an STD by only having sex with someone who isn't having sex with anyone else and who doesn't have an STD.
You should always use condoms when having sex, including oral and anal sex.
What else should I do to prevent STDs?
Limit the number of sex partners you have. Ask your partner if he or she has, or has had, an STD and tell your partner if you have had one. Talk about whether you've both been tested for STDs and whether you should be tested.
Look for signs of an STD in your sex partner. But remember that STDs don't always cause symptoms. Don't have sex if you or your partner are being treated for an STD.
Wash your genitals with soap and water and urinate soon after you have sex. This may help clean away some germs before they have a chance to infect you.
Do condoms prevent STDs?
Male condoms can reduce your risk of getting an STD if used correctly (see the box below). Be sure to use them every time you have sex. Female condoms aren't as effective as male condoms, but should be used when a man won't use a male condom.
Remember, though, that condoms aren't 100% safe and can't protect you from coming in contact with some sores, such as those that can occur with herpes, or warts, which can be caused by HPV infection.
Use new Condom each time you are having a sex. Do not reuse Condom.
Should I use a spermicide to help prevent STDs?
No. It was once thought that spermicides with nonoxynol-9 could help prevent STDs much like they help prevent pregnancy--by damaging the organisms that cause the diseases. New research has shown that nonoxynol-9 can irritate a woman’s vagina and cervix, actually increasing the risk of STD infection.
Be sure to check the ingredients of any other sex-related products you own, such as lubricants and condoms. Some brands of these products may have nonoxynol-9 added to them. If you are unsure if your spermicide or any other product contains nonoxynol-9, ask your doctor before using it.