What are STDs?

STDs is the acronym for sexually transmitted diseases. STDs are passed from one person to another during sexual contact. 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.

Sexual Health Spotlight

STDs are very common, especially among young people ages 15 to 24. There are about 19 million new cases of STDs in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Source: CDC).

STDs include:

  • Chancroid

  • Chlamydia

  • Genital herpes

  • Genital warts

  • Gonorrhea

  • Hepatitis

  • HIV/AIDS

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Pubic lice (crabs)

  • Scabies

  • Syphilis

  • Trichomoniasis

Most 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 reduce or delay the onset of serious complications, improve the quality of life, and minimize the spread of the disease to others.

Any person who engages in sexual activity can contract and pass on an STD. This includes heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual men and women.

Untreated STDs can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, opportunistic infections, and complications in newborns. Using safer sex practices, seeking regular medical care, and seeking early, regular prenatal care can help reduce the risk of serious complications of STDs.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of STDs?

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 when no symptoms are present.... Read more about stdssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes STDs?

STDs are caused by infections of certain organisms:... Read more about stdscauses

TREATMENTS

How are STDs treated?

Some STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, are easily curable in their early stages. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can eliminate the risk of developing serious complications.... Read more about stdstreatments

Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jan 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.