Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)



Sexually Transmitted Diseases Stds 2300
Photo by: Cybrain

KEYWORDS

for searching the Internet and other reference sources

Infection

Public health

Venereal disease

Sexually transmitted diseases (or STDs) are a varied group of infections that usually are passed from person to person by sexual contact. Some also spread from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth. Widespread around the world, STDs are particularly common among people in their teens and early twenties. STDs range in severity from pubic lice, which usually cause only discomfort, to AIDS, which has caused millions of deaths in a worldwide epidemic.

Sexual contact between people is one important way that many diseasecausing organisms spread. More than 30 bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases can pass from person to person in this way. For some of these, sexual contact is the main route of transmission. These are the illnesses we generally call sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Most STDs primarily affect only the sexual organs and other parts of the reproductive system. That is true of chlamydial (kla-MID-i-al) infections, gonorrhea (gon-o-REE-a), genital herpes, genital warts, and trichomoniasis (trik-o-mo-NY-a-sis). Other STDs may enter through the sexual organs but affect other parts of the body. That is what happens in AIDS and syphilis.

Besides AIDS, some STDs can have serious complications, especially for women. Chlamydia and gonorrhea often cause no symptoms in women (and sometimes in men), which means they can easily go untreated. But

Sexually transmitted diseases affect many different parts of the body.
Sexually transmitted diseases affect many different parts of the body.
if that happens, these infections sometimes develop into pelvic inflammatory disease. That can lead to infertility, meaning a woman finds it difficult or impossible to get pregnant. In addition, if women are infected with certain strains of the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus, they may run a higher risk of getting cancer of the cervix, part of the female reproductive system.

If syphilis goes untreated in men or women, it can cause fatal heart problems, as well as blindness, deafness, and insanity, many years later.

Are All Infections of the Genital Tract Spread by
Sexual Contact?

No. For instance, yeast infections of the genital tract usually do not involve sexual contact. Most often, the yeast (a kind of fungus) spreads from a person's own skin or intestinal tract, where it does no harm, into the person's genital tract, where it can cause symptoms. So a person could get such an infection even if he or she had never engaged in sexual activity. The most common of these yeast infections is called candidiasis (can-di-DI-a-sis).

Who Is at Risk for STDs?

Just about anyone who has sexual contact with another person can get an STD. People who are infected with one STD are likely to have other STDs as well. Once cured, they also are at higher risk of getting infected again.

STDs are particularly common among young people, aged 15 to 24. Experts see several reasons for this: Young people are less likely to be married, so if they engage in sex, they may tend to have more sexual partners than older people. Young people more often fail to use condoms during sexual activity, even though condoms can protect a person from most sexually transmitted diseases. Young people may be too embarrassed, too short of money, or too worried about privacy to get regular checkups or to get prompt medical treatment for STDs. As a result, they may stay infected—and may be able to infect others—for longer than necessary.

In general, people run a higher than usual risk of getting infected if they begin sexual activity at an early age, have a number of sexual partners, do not always use condoms, and do not get regular medical checkups. But even a person who has sex only one time, with only one partner, can get an STD if his or her partner is infected. The only clear way to prevent getting an STD is to abstain from sexual activity.

How Do STDs Spread?

People with STDs often do not realize they are infected, and so they spread the disease to others, including people they love most—wives, husbands, and children.

Sexual contacts

These diseases can spread through sexual contact between people of the opposite sex (heterosexual sex) or between people of the same sex (homosexual sex). Sexual activities that can spread STDs include sexual intercourse, anal sex, and oralgenital sex.

Other routes of transmission

STDs also sometimes spread in nonsexual ways. Many of them—including HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and genital herpes—can be spread from mother to baby during pregnancy or childbirth. HIV can also spread through breastfeeding.

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can spread if an infected person shares needles, or if contaminated blood is given in a blood transfusion. In the United States, strict testing has made blood transfusions extremely safe, but the risk may be higher in some other countries.

STDs that cause sores on the skin, such as genital herpes, syphilis, and chancroid * , can spread sometimes if the sores touch another person's skin. The sores also can serve as a way for HIV to enter the body, making infection with the AIDS virus more likely. Preventing or treating these sores is important in the prevention of AIDS.

Most STDs cannot be spread by contact with an object, such as a toilet seat. One exception is trichomoniasis, which is thought to spread sometimes through towels or bathing suits recently used by an infected person.

What Happens When People Get STDs?

Symptoms

Several of the most common of these diseases—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis—can cause pain during urination and a pus-like discharge from the sexual organs. In many cases, however, there are no symptoms in these illnesses. Several other STDs cause sores or blisters in the genital region. These include syphilis, genital herpes, and chancroid. The symptoms of HIV/AIDS include getting frequent fungal and parasitic infections.

Diagnosis

From the symptoms and a look at any skin sores that may be present, a doctor may suspect an STD. Tests of various kinds can usually tell for sure which infection, if any, a person has.

Because chlamydia and gonorrhea are very common in young women, but often cause no symptoms and can lead to infertility, doctors recommend that young women who engage in sexual activity get tested routinely for these illnesses so they can be treated.

In addition, anyone whose sexual partner has been diagnosed with an STD, or whose partner has symptoms of an STD, should be tested and treated if they are also infected.

How Are STDs Treated?

STDs can be divided into curable illnesses and illnesses that can be treated but not cured.

Curable illnesses

Curable illnesses usually are caused by bacteria or parasites. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chancroid, all caused by bacteria, and trichomoniasis, caused by a parasite. These can be cured with medication. Syphilis and gonorrhea, in fact, often can be cured by a single swallow or shot of medicine.

* chancroid (SHANG-kroid) is a bacterial infection that causes painful sores in the genital region. Relatively rare in the United States, it mostly occurs in tropical and subtropical areas.

Non-STDs: A Matter of Definition

Many infections can spread through sexual contact but usually spread in other ways. These illnesses generally are not classified as sexually transmitted diseases. They include:

  • Hepatitis B and cytomegalovirus, viruses that usually spread through blood
  • Bacteria like salmonella, parasites like amebas, and the virus Hepatitis A, all of which usually spread through water or food that has been contaminated with feces from an infected person

Treatable illnesses

Ilnesses that are treatable, but not curable, usually are caused by viruses. These include HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, and genital warts. These cannot be cured with drugs, because the viruses remain in the body. But, in most cases, medication or other treatment can reduce symptoms. In the case of people with HIV infection, medication can increase the life span and the quality of life.

How Can STDs Be Prevented?

Abstinence and safer sex

The only sure way to avoid getting an STD is not to have sexual contact with anyone (called abstention or abstinence).

For people who do engage in sex, the safest relationship is when two people who are not infected have sexual contact only with each other. The problem is that it is impossible to know for sure whether someone is infected or not. People may not always tell the truth about their sexual behavior in the past—or they may mistakenly think they were protected in the past. Many people with an STD do not know or believe they have one.

That is one reason why health officials recommend that people who engage in sex always use latex condoms unless they are trying to get pregnant. Using latex condoms can lower the risk of getting an STD, but the condoms must be used properly, and they must be used every time a person engages in sexual activity.

Education and awareness

At the public health level, education is an important part of preventing STDs. Awareness about the need to prevent STDs has greatly increased in recent decades, largely because of the emergence of AIDS. Information about how to prevent STDs is now widely published in the media and taught in schools. Young people are being urged to abstain from sex or to use condoms if they are sexually active.

Contact tracing

In addition, when a person is diagnosed with an STD, doctors or health officials try to locate the person's sexual partners so they can be tested and treated. This kind of confidential "contact tracing" is done without revealing the infected person's name. It prevents the person's sexual contacts from unknowingly spreading the disease.

But the only sure way to prevent getting an STD is to abstain from sex.

The U.S. and the World

Sexually transmitted diseases take a heavy toll throughout the world. By the end of 1998, AIDS had killed almost 14 million people worldwide, including more than 400,000 people in the United States. More than 33 million people were living with HIV infection, mostly in underdeveloped countries in Africa and Asia.

While other sexually transmitted diseases seldom cause death, they do cause a heavy burden of illness. In 1995, the World Health Organization estimated that 333 million new cases of curable STDs occurred. That included:

  • 89 million cases of chlamydial infection
  • 62 million cases of gonorrhea
  • 12 million cases of syphilis
  • 170 million cases of trichomaniasis

Throughout the world, including the United States, STDs tend to be more common in urban, unmarried teenagers and in young adults.

In the United States, it is estimated that most adults will be infected with a sexually transmitted disease at some time, although they may not know it. Some form of the human papillomavirus, for instance, infects most Americans. Some strains of human papillomavirus cause genital warts; others can promote cervical cancer. And more than 1 in 5 Americans is thought to be infected with the virus that causes genital herpes.

Of the bacterial STDs, chlamydia is the most common. It is estimated to cause about 4 million cases a year in the United States, although only about 10 percent of those get reported to health agencies. It is thought that 1 in 10 adolescent women and 1 in 20 adult women of child-bearing age are infected.

Resources

Book

Brodman, Michael, M.D., John Thacker, and Rachel Kranz. Straight Talk About Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York: Facts on File, 1998. This book focuses on prevention for young people and includes explicit discussion of more and less risky sexual activity.

Organizations

The National Institutes of Health posts information about sexually transmitted diseases on its website.
http://www.nih.gov/factsheets/stdinfo.htm

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1600 Clifton Road, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30333, has a National STD Hotline that is open from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM EST.
Telephone: 800-227-8922.

The CDC also posts information about sexually transmitted diseases at its website.
http://cdc.gov/od/owh/whstd.htm

The American Social Health Association posts a Sexual Health Glossary and fact sheets about STDs at its website.
http://www.ashastd.org/main/main.html

KidsHealth.org , the website of The Nemours Foundation, has information for teens and others about STDs.
http://kidshealth.org

See also
AIDS and HIV
Bacterial Infections
Chlamydial Infections
Fungal Infections
Genital Warts
Gonorrhea
Herpes
Lice
Parasitic Diseases
Syphilis
Viral Infections



User Contributions:

1
Edz
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jun 22, 2008 @ 1:01 am
If one woman suffer an STD's, and now she's better and healthy now. Is she possible to get pregnant? Hope for your advice
2
Report this comment as inappropriate
Feb 8, 2017 @ 6:06 am
i want to use this medium to testify of how i got cured from HIV AIDS, HIV AIDS is known not to have a cure, i was diagnosed with this disease in 2012, i have done all my best to get cured from this disease but all was not avail until a friend of mine told me about Doctor Ajayi herbal home on the internet who help people cure any kind of diseases including HIV AIDS, Cancer, Herpes etc, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this herbal doctor he helped me with his herbal medicine and i was healed within (13 days) and i went for a medical checkup and my doctor confirm it that i am HIV negative.Contact this great herbal doctor for help to cure your disease. via his email Dr.ajayihomeremedy@gmail.com
HE CAN ALSO HELP CURE THE FOLLOWING DISEASE

1 HIV /aids cure
2 herpes cure
3 stroke
4 disable
5 cancer
6 kidney
7 Std

if you have this disease listed above DR Ajayi is the right herbal doctor that can cure you.email him now and also share the same testimony after you are cure you can call him on +2348105330548 and his email is dr.ajayihomeremedy@gmail.com
3
Josephine Leonard
Report this comment as inappropriate
Feb 9, 2017 @ 12:00 am
Hello every one my name is Josephine Leonard i am from USA it is no longer news that we are now blessed with this man Called Dr Stephen Yakoma the Dr of herbs barely two weeks ago i saw a post talking about his treatment and what he does right before then i was suffering from Vaginal bleeding which is Bleeding disorders i read about him on a site with his list of treatment and i said to myself let me try and see what he can do, after complaining to him he gave me his words that all will be fine and i said okay he told me all what was involved and the type of herbal medications i needed i responded with the procedure and the medicine was delivered to me so i started with the application as directed to my surprise after some days i started feeling the action of the medicine to God be the glory now i am free, totally healed i want to use this time to thank you sir most especially for the good work and the hope you gave me and i use this time to tell all of you reading this if you are having any type of disease such as cancer you can contact him too on his emails canceroiltreatment@gmail.com, and drstephenyakomaherbalhome@gmail.com thank you Dr stephen yakoma. you also refers your loved ones and family.
4
Scarlett Braxton
Report this comment as inappropriate
Feb 10, 2017 @ 11:11 am
Do you know that there is a great herbal doctor who can cure any deadly disease like herpes, hiv/aids, cancer,syphilis, madness, diabetes, std e.t.c. well my main purpose of writing this is to the whole world about the great deeds DR.Okolie did for me. I was diagnosed of a deadly disease called Herpes since the year 2010, ever since then i have been taking medications until i met a great herbalist. though i never believed in herbal but i saw many testimonies on how he cured so my people and i decided to contact him. so i contacted him through his email, he gave me a form to fill, i filled it and send it back to him and then he told me that he would require some items to prepare a herbal medicine for me. i didn't know were to find the items, and he told me that the only alternative is to send him the money so that he can help me purchase the items from the items seller. i promised my self to do anything to get cured, so i sent him the money and he prepared a medicine for me and he told me how i will be taking it. he asked me to had faith and believed in him which i did, a week latter he asked me to go for a check-up, when i did the check-up i was tested Herpes Negative. All thanks to DR.Okolie. if you are passing through suffering and hardship and you need a way out , i advice you kindly contact him via his email on drokolieherbalhome@yahoo.com and you can call him on this +2348151063713 he can help you out
5
sonia stevens
Report this comment as inappropriate
Feb 13, 2017 @ 7:07 am
I want to share this wonderful testimony to the people who are in the same problem that i was before i meant Dr Ben. i was living with HIV for the past 2 years, just last month as i was browsing on the internet about this deadly disease, i saw a testimony of somebody called Edwards Simone, testifying of how she was cured from HIV by Great Dr Ben and i decided to also email this man and tell him about my problem and as i did that, he told me to send him some of my personal details which i did and he prepared me a portion which i took and then he told me to wait for one week. After one week he told me to go for another HIV test, which i did and to my greatest suppress i was confirmed negative. all thanks be to Dr Ben and if you know that you are in this same problem or other deadly disease email him now on( drbenharbalhome@gmail.com ) or contact him now on whatsaap:+22893464014. You can get me on email: soniastevens1995@gmail.com
6
david
Report this comment as inappropriate
Feb 16, 2017 @ 7:07 am
Hello dear readers, I’m from Texas United State. Am a single father of a lovely daughter. An Engineer by profession. I want to tell the wholeworld about the good deeds Dr habbito did for me, I was diagnosed of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).I was told by my family doctor, that I have only 8 months to live on planet earth, I was so depressed, I was thinking about my family, I don’t want to leave them behind, THEN i heard that Drabumere is curing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), I never believe in herbal medicine, I collected his email from the testimony i read online just like mine, i want other patient suffering of this disease to also get cured the doctors decision is not the final decision God can still help you. I contacted him via email, he told me not to bother myself,that everything will be alright, I believed him, due to the way he assured me, which I did, he prepare a herbal medicine for me, and told me that am free from the my Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), he also asked me to go for checkup, the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) disappeared from my body totally, I am forever in debt to him, I owe you a lot Dr abumere If you have any deadly disease, ALL TYPES like CANCER, GONORRHEA, HIV/AIDS, SYPHILIS, and ANEMIA HEPATITIS B any disease you can think off. Kindly email him now on:Email: drdavidhabbit@gmail.com

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA