Sexually Transmitted Diseases
(STDs) In Women

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What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that can be transferred from one person to another through any type of sexual contact. STDs are sometimes referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) since they involve the transmission of a disease-causing organism from one person to another during sexual activity. It is important to realize that sexual contact includes more than just sexual intercourse (vaginal and anal). Sexual contact includes kissing, oral-genital contact, and the use of sexual "toys," such as vibrators. STDs probably have been around for thousands of years, but the most dangerous of these conditions, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS or HIV disease), has only been recognized since 1984.

Many STDs are treatable, but effective cures are lacking for others, such as HIV, HPV, and hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Even gonorrhea, once easily cured, has become resistant to many of the older traditional antibiotics. Many STDs can be present in, and spread by, people who do not have any symptoms of the condition and have not yet been diagnosed with an STD. Therefore, public awareness and education about these infections and the methods of preventing them is important.

There really is no such thing as "safe" sex. The only truly effective way to prevent STDs is abstinence. Sex in the context of a monogamous relationship wherein neither party is infected with an STD also is considered "safe." Most people think that kissing is a safe activity. But unfortunately, syphilis, herpes, and other infections can be contracted through this relatively simple and apparently harmless act. All other forms of sexual contact carry some risk. Condoms are commonly thought to protect against STDs. Condoms are useful in decreasing the spread of certain infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea; however, they do not fully protect against other infections such as genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis, and AIDS. Prevention of the spread of STDs is dependent upon the counseling of at-risk individuals and the early diagnosis and treatment of infections.


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Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs) - Experience Question: What type of STD did you have?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs) - Symptoms Question: Describe the symptoms you experienced with your STD.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs) - Treatment Question: What kind of treatment, including medication, was used to treat your STD?
STDs in Women - HPVs and Genital Warts Question: How did you discover you had HPV or genital warts? Please share your experience.
Genital Herpes Symptoms

Genital Herpes Symptoms

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Genital herpes is a common condition affecting around 45 million people in the U.S. The herpes viruses responsible for genital herpes (herpes simplex virus type 2, or HSV-2; and, less commonly, herpes simplex virus type 1 or HSV-1) are transmitted through close personal contact such as sexual contact.

The symptoms of genital herpes vary among people. Most people infected with HSV have no symptoms or have only mild symptoms, but some develop severe symptoms. When symptoms do occur, the infected person usually develops one or more painful blisters in the anal or genital areas that eventually ulcerate and heal over a period of a few weeks.

When a person is first infected with the herpes virus, if symptoms occur, these usually develop within the first two weeks after infection. These symptoms of an initial infection can include:

  • Fever and flu-like symptoms
  • Genital itching, burning, or discomfort
  • Vaginal discharge in women
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • A feeling of pressure in the abdomen


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