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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Introduction

STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, are caused by a bacterial infection, viral infection, or parasite infection that is passed from one person another during sexual contact. This sexual contact can involve vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Some STDs can also be passed to another person through other means, such as through blood transfusions or from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth.

STDs are very common, especially among young people ages 15 to 24. There are about 19 million new cases of STDs in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC.

There are many STDs, including chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, chancroid, pubic lice, HPV, trichomoniasis, genital warts, gonorrhea, and genital herpes.

STDs are highly preventable. If diagnosed early some STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can be quickly and easily treated and cured before serious complications develop. Other STDs, such as HIV/AIDS and genital herpes, are not curable, but prompt diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce or delay the onset of serious complications, improve the quality of life, and minimize the spread of the disease to others.

If left untreated, STDs can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, prostatitis, epididymitis, ectopic pregnancy, frequent opportunistic infection, and death. Having one STD also puts a person at greater risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and other STDs.

Any person that engages in sexual activity can contract and pass on a STD. This includes heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual men and women. The more sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk of catching a STD.

There are a wide variety of symptoms of STDs, and they run the gamut from none to severe. Symptoms also vary between individuals. Serious permanent damage to the reproductive organs and other complications can occur even in the absence of symptoms.

Symptoms of STDs can include public itching, pubic rashes, blisters and lesions on the genitals, dementia, and weight loss. Symptoms specific to women can include pelvic pain, vaginal discharge with a foul odor, pain with sexual intercourse, and fever. Symptoms in men include pain or burning with urination, testicular pain, and a thick discharge from the penis. For more details on symptoms, refer to symptoms of STDs.

Making a diagnosis of a STD includes taking a medical and sexual history and completing a physical and pelvic examination for women and a physical and examination of the penis and testicles for men. A diagnosis also includes performing lab tests to determine if an infection is present and the type of infecting organism. Pelvic ultrasound and laparoscopic surgery may also be done in women, depending on the symptoms and history.

Because there may be no symptoms, some infected people may be unaware of a problem, and a diagnosis of a STD can be missed or delayed. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of STDs.

The first step in the treatment of STDs is prevention. Prevention of STDs is best accomplished by abstaining from sexual activity or having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship in which neither partner is infected with a STD. Latex condoms also provide some protection from some STDs when used properly.

Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of STD, the individual case, and the presence of complications. Treatment generally includes drug therapy aimed at the specific infection. Hospitalization may be necessary if a person has serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease or an opportunistic infection. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of STDs. ...more »

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a group of various diseases that are spread by sexual contact. They are sadly very common with an estimated 65 million living with an STD and about 15 million annual cases in the USA. Most new cases affect teenagers and young adults under 25.

Some STDs have either no symptoms or no early symptoms, making them often undiagnosed, such as: HIV, genital herpes, HPV, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and gonorrhea. This means they can be spread further and also cause serious complications such as PID and infertility. This is especially unfortunate because antibiotic treatment of serious non-viral STDs such as chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and gonorrhea is usually simple and successful. Other less common STDs such as syphilis and chancroid are also successfully treated. ...more »

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Symptoms

Symptoms of STDs vary depending on the type of STD and the individual case. Some STDs have no symptoms early in the disease. However, serious permanent damage to the reproductive tissues, infertility, and other complications can occur even in the absence of symptoms.

Symptoms often affect the genitals and reproductive organs and can include public itching, burning with urination, pubic ...more symptoms »

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Treatments

Treatment of STDs starts with prevention. Preventive measures include seeking regular medical care throughout a lifetime. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to best evaluate an individual's risks of catching STDs and regularly test for them. These measures greatly increase the chances of catching and treating STDs in their earliest ...more treatments »

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the STDs can easily be missed or delayed because there may be no symptoms in early stages, and the infected person may be unaware of an infection. Embarrassment and not being honest with the health care provider about specific symptoms, such as discharge from the penis or pubic itching, can also delay a diagnosis. In addition, some symptoms of some STDs, ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Treatments for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  • Management of sexually transmitted diseases depends upon the type, duration and severity of the infection, as we as issues such as patient compliance. Treatments include:
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Sexually Transmitted Diseases:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Related Patient Stories

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Complications

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Causes of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Read more about causes of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

More information about causes of Sexually Transmitted Diseases:

Disease Topics Related To Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Sexually Transmitted Diseases:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status can affect her level of fertility. Although obesity or overweight can in themselves reduce fertility, there are other weight-related or associated...read more »

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Sexually Transmitted Diseases:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Sexually Transmitted Diseases, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Medical research articles related to Sexually Transmitted Diseases include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Animations

Prognosis for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Research about Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Visit our research pages for current research about Sexually Transmitted Diseases treatments.

Clinical Trials for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Sexually Transmitted Diseases include:

Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Prevention information for Sexually Transmitted Diseases has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Statistics for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Broader Related Topics

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), once called venereal diseases, are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States today. More than 20 STDs have now been identified, and they affect more than 13 million men and women in this country each year. (Source: excerpt from Sexually Transmitted Diseases, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Definitions of Sexually Transmitted Diseases:

RAEB: The primary non-AIDS venereal disease studies supported by NCI are of cervical cancer. Code only studies related to cervical cancer causation and prevention, not detection or treatment. - (Source - Diseases Database)

A communicable disease transmitted by sexual intercourse or genital contact - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

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