Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are contagious diseases that are passed between persons through direct sexual contact, through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. But sometimes they can spread through direct skin contact. This is because some STDs, like herpes and HPV, are spread by skin-to-skin contact.
There are several types of STDs that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites, including
- Genital herpes
- Pubic lice
Who is affected by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
Most STDs affect both sexes, but in many cases, the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STD, it can cause serious health problems for the baby.
Symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases:
STDs might cause minimal or even no symptoms. So it is possible to have an infection and not know it. Yet they can still be passed on to others.
- Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
- Sores or warts on the genital area
- Painful or frequent urination
- Itching and redness in the genital area
- Blisters or sores in or around the mouth
- Abnormal vaginal odor
- Anal itching, soreness, or bleeding
- Abdominal pain
If you are sexually active, you should talk to your health care provider about your risk for STDs and whether you need to be tested. This is especially important since many STDs do not usually cause symptoms.
Some STDs may be diagnosed during a physical exam or through microscopic examination of a sore or fluid swabbed from the vagina, penis, or anus. Blood tests can diagnose other types of STDs.
Treatment for sexually transmitted diseases:
Antibiotics can treat STDs caused by bacteria or parasites. There is no cure for STDs caused by viruses, but medicines can often help with the symptoms and lower your risk of spreading the infection.
Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases:
Attempts to minimize direct genitalia and skin contact via the usage of latex condoms greatly reduce but do not completely eliminate the risk of catching or spreading STDs. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
There are vaccines to prevent HPV and hepatitis B.