Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are generally acquired by sexual contact. STIs are caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. Many of these infections can be transmitted through any type of sex. That includes not just intercourse, but also oral sex and other types of sex play.
The most common STIs include:
- Genital herpes, also called “herpes simplex virus” or “HSV”
- Genital warts, also called “human papillomavirus” or “HPV”
- Some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer in women
- Hepatitis A, B, and C
- Human immunodeficiency virus, also called “HIV” – This is the virus that causes AIDS.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have a range of signs and symptoms. That’s why they may go unnoticed until complications occur or a partner is diagnosed. Signs and symptoms that might indicate an STI include:
- Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area
- Painful or burning urination
- Discharge from the penis
- Unusual or odd-smelling vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sex
- Sore, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin but sometimes more widespread
- Lower abdominal pain
- Rash over the trunk, hands or feet
Signs and symptoms may appear a few days to years after exposure, depending on the organism.
Some of the common risk factors for STDs include:
- Having unprotected sex
- Having sexual contact with multiple partners
- Anyone forced to have sexual intercourse or sexual activity
- Abusing alcohol or using recreational drugs
If someone believes they have a sexually transmitted infection (STIs), it can be diagnosed through a blood test, urine sample or fluid sample.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that are caused by bacteria are easier to treat than viral infections. Depending on the infection, STIs can be treated with antibiotics or antiviral drugs, creams. If tests show that you have an STI, your sex partners — including your current partners and any other partners you’ve had over the last three months to one year — need to be informed so that they can get tested and treated if infected.
Common measures to prevent STDs include:
- Use condoms and dental dams consistently and correctly
- Get vaccinated for viral STI’s preventable with a vaccine
- Don’t drink alcohol excessively or use drugs
- Communicate with your partner
- Stay with 1 uninfected partner
- Consider male circumcision
- Consider PrEP (create link to PrEP section)
WHAT PATIENTS ARE SAYING
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