Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STD

Sexually transmitted diseases are infections that are often, if not always, passed from person to person through sexual contact. Because sexual activity provides an easy opportunity for organisms to find new hosts, a wide variety of infectious micro-organisms can be spread by sexual contact.

Most of the infectious agents that cause sexually transmitted disease are fairly easily inactivated when exposed to a harsh environment. They are thus particularly suited to transmission by contact with mucous membranes. They may be bacteria (e.g. gonococci), spirochetes (syphilis), chlamydiae (nongonococcal urethritis, cervicitis), viruses (e.g. herpes simplex, hepatitis B virus, cytomegalovirus, AIDS virus), or protozoa (e.g. Trichomonas). In most infections caused by these agents, early lessons occur on genitalia or other sexually exposed mucous membranes; however, wide desimination may occur.

Controlling sexually transmitted diseases depend on promoting safe sex practices and providing good medical facilities for diagnosis and treatment. Educating people about how to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases- especially encouraging condom use - is critical. Today treatments can rapidly cure most sexually transmitted diseases and prevent them from spreading. However, a number of new drug resistant variants of older organisms have spread widely in part because of worldwide travel, especially air travel and such mobility has been partly responsible for the rapid spread of the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV), which causes AIDS.

Except for AIDS and hepatitis B, sexually transmitted diseases can be cured or managed if they are treated early. But one, may not realise that one has an STD until it has damaged the patients reproductive system, vision, heart, or other oragans. Also, having an STD weakens the immune system and leaves one more vulnerable to other infections.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States and many European & Asian countries of the world today. More than 20 different STDs have been identified. Depending on the disease, the infection can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs or the mouth; the infection can also be spread through contact with blood during sexual activity.

  1. STDs affect men and women of all ages and backgrounds.
  2. STDs have become more common, partly because young people are becoming sexually active at a younger age and are having multiple partners.
  3. People can pass STDs to sexual partners even if they themselves do not have any symptoms.
  4. Frequently, STDs cause no symptoms, especially in women.
  5. Health problems from STDs tend to be more severe for women than for men. Some STDs can cause pelvic infections that may lead to scarring of the reproductive organs, which can result in an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside the uterus) and infertility for women.
  6. STDs in women may be related to cancer of the cervix.
  7. STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby before, during, or immediately after birth.
  8. Because the method of becoming infected is similar with all STDs, a person can easily pick up more than one infection at a time.
  9. Experts believe that having an STD that is not AIDS increases one's risk for becoming infected with AIDS.
  10. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Causes
  11. Depending on the disease, STDs can be spread with any type of sexual activity. STDs are most often caused by viruses and bacteria.
  12. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Symptoms
  13. Common STDs have a variety of symptoms (if symptoms develop at all) and many different complications, including death.


  • Most common of all STDs caused by bacteria
  • No symptoms in 80% of women and 50% of men
  • Discharge from the vagina or the penis, burning or pain during urination
  • Transmitted through vaginal, oral, or anal sexual contact
  • Ectopic pregnancy and infertility for women most serious complications
  • Treatable with antibiotics
  • Genital herpes : One type of herpes typically causes cold sores in the mouth, and another type causes genital sores; however, each type can cause either type of infection.
  • Recurring outbreaks of blisterlike sores on the genitals
  • Can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during birth
  • Reduction in frequency and severity of blister outbreaks with treatment but not complete elimination of infection.

Hepatitis (A, B, C, D)

  • Hepatitis B most often associated with sexual contact
  • Yellowish skin and eyes, fever, achy, tired, might feel like the flu
  • Severe complications, including cirrhosis and liver cancer
  • No cure available, remission possible with some aggressive medications
  • Immunizations available to prevent hepatitis A and B


  • Discharge from the vagina or the penis
  • Painful urination
  • Ectopic pregnancy and infertility for women most serious complications
  • Treatable with antibiotics


  • Mild symptoms, often goes undetected initially
  • Starts with painless genital ulcer that goes away on its own
  • Rash, fever, headache, achy joints
  • Treatable with antibiotics
  • More serious complications associated with later stages of disease if undetected and untreated


  • Not common in the United States
  • Causes painful ulcers on the genitals
  • Can be confused with syphilis or herpes
  • Treatable with antibiotics


  • Spread primarily by sexual contact and from sharing IV needles
  • Can be transmitted at the time a person becomes infected with other STDs
  • Fatigue, night sweats, chills or fever lasting several weeks, headaches, cough
  • No current cure and generally fatal, with death usually occurring after 2-3 years; medication available to slow disease progression

Genital warts

  • Caused by a virus related to skin warts
  • Small, painless bumps in the genital or anal areas (sometimes in clusters that look like cauliflower)
  • Various treatments available (for example, freezing or painting the warts with medication)

Pubic lice

  • Very tiny insects living in pubic hair
  • Can be picked up from clothing or bedding
  • First notice itching in the pubic area
  • Treatable with creams, anti-lice agents, and combing


  • Skin infection caused by a tiny mite
  • Highly contagious
  • Spread primarily by sexual contact or from contact with skin, infested sheets, towels, or furniture
  • Treatment with creams

When to Seek Medical Care

A medical examination may be necessary if a person believes he or she may have an STD or if he or she may have been exposed to someone with an STD. Being seen by a doctor as soon as possible after exposure to an STD is important; these infections can easily spread to others and can have serious complications.

Go to a hospital's emergency department in these circumstances:

  • If an STD problem worsens
  • If a fever develops with other symptoms
  • If it will be a couple of days before an appointment with a doctor

Exams and Tests

Some STDs can be diagnosed without any tests at all. Other STDs require a blood test or a sample of any unusual fluid (such as an abnormal discharge from the vagina or the penis) to be analyzed in a lab to help establish a diagnosis. Some tests are completed while a person waits; other tests require a few days before a person may obtain the results.

Medical Treatment

The treatment of an STD varies depending on the type of STD. Some STDs require a person to take antibiotic medication either by mouth or by injection; other STDs require a person to apply creams or special solutions on the skin. Often, reexamination by a doctor is necessary after the treatment to confirm that the STD is completely gone.

Some STDs, such as herpes and HIV (which leads to AIDS), cannot be cured, only controlled.


  • Sometimes people with STDs are too embarrassed or frightened to ask for help or information. However, most STDs are easy to treat.
  • The sooner a person seeks treatment and warns sexual partners about the disease, the less likely the disease will do permanent damage, be spread to others, or be passed to a baby.

If diagnosed with an STD, follow these guidelines:

  • Seek treatment to stop the spread of the disease.
  • Notify sexual contacts and urge them to have a checkup.
  • Take all of the prescribed medication.
  • Sometimes, follow-up tests are important.
  • Consult a doctor with specific needs and questions.
  • Avoid sexual activity while being treated for an STD.


The best way to prevent STDs is to avoid sexual contact with others. If people decide to become sexually active, they can reduce the risk of developing an STD in these ways:

  • Be abstinent (refrain from sex entirely) or be in a monogamous relationship (both sexual partners are each others' only sexual partner).
  • Delay having sexual relations as long as possible. The younger people are when they become sexually active, the higher the lifetime risk for contracting an STD. The risk also increases with the number of sexual partners.
  • Correctly and consistently use a male latex condom. The spermicide nonoxynol-9, once thought to protect against STDs as well as to prevent pregnancy, has been proven to be ineffective for disease prevention. Do not rely on it.
  • Have regular checkups.
  • Learn the symptoms of STDs.
  • Avoid having sex during menstruation. (HIV is passed more easily at this time.)
  • Avoid anal intercourse or use a condom.
  • Avoid douching because it removes some of the natural protection in the vagina.

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