What are STDs?

The 10 most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States include human papillomavirus (HPV), trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and more.
The 10 most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States include human papillomavirus (HPV), trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and more.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are common health conditions worldwide. Millions of people are diagnosed with at least one STD every year in the United States.

STDs are most likely to be spread by sexual contact including vaginal, anal or oral sex. Some STDs can even spread through intimate rubbing or grinding and non-sexual means such as through blood or blood products.

1. Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Signs and symptoms

Is it curable?

No, although the infection may clear up on its own in most cases. However, treatment can help eliminate warts. Vaccines to prevent HPV are also available.

2. Trichomoniasis

Signs and symptoms

  • Minor discharge or burning with urination in men.
  • Yellowish-green vaginal discharge with prominent odor, itching of the vaginal area or painful sex or urination in women.
  • Only 30 percent of infected people develop symptoms.

Is it curable?

Yes, but can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and prostatitis if left untreated.

3. Chlamydia

Signs and symptoms

  • Burning or itching of the genitals and abnormal vaginal discharge in women.
  • Discharge from the penis in men.
  • Painful urination.

Is it curable?

Yes, but it can cause infertility if left untreated.

4. Gonorrhea (The Clap)

Signs and symptoms

  • Burning during urination
  • Vaginal or urethral discharge
  • Pelvic pain in women
  • Swelling of the testes and discharge from the penis in men.

Is it curable?

Yes, but if left untreated, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women that can lead to infertility. Untreated gonorrhea in men can also lead to male infertility.

5. Syphilis

Signs and symptoms

Is it curable?

Yes, and if left untreated, it can lead to nerve damage, blindness, paralysis and even turn life-threatening.

SLIDESHOW

12 Preventable STDs: Pictures, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment See Slideshow

6. Genital herpes

Signs and symptoms

  • Fluid-filled blisters known as herpes sores that ooze and later crust followed by healing.
  • Tingling or burning sensation a day before the sores appear.
  • Fever
  • Chills

Is it curable?

No, but antiviral treatment can reduce the severity of the outbreak. Over the counter creams or lotions can soothe sores.

7. Hepatitis B

Signs and symptoms

Is it curable?

No, but there is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B infection. Most people recover with proper treatment.

8. Human immunodeficiency virus/Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)

Signs and symptoms

Is it curable?

No, but proper antiretroviral medications can suppress virus multiplication in the body.

9. Bacterial vaginosis

Signs and symptoms

  • A thin, white, gray or green vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal itching
  • Foul-smelling “fishy” odor
  • Burning during urination

Is it curable?

Yes

10. Pubic lice

Signs and symptoms

  • Itching, small red bumps or spots on the skin
  • Blue spots on the thighs or lower abdomen.
  • Dark brown powder (louse droppings) on the skin or in the underwear

Is it curable?

Yes

How to prevent STDs

Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have no cure, whereas others may cause infertility. Hence, prevention is the key that can be done by following safe sex practices. Here are the important ones.

  • Use condoms and dental dams during sex while ensuring they stay in place
  • Limit sexual activities to only one person
  • Avoid casual sex

Be aware of the modes of transmission of STDs. You can gather knowledge from reliable sexual health education sources.

If you have an STD, you may have no symptoms at all initially or have mild symptoms. Do not hesitate to get tested if you feel you are at risk of STDs.

Get vaccinated. It can help prevent STDs.

Having one STD also makes you more likely to get another STD. Discuss the risks with your doctor.

Share the status of your sexual health with your partner and encourage them to do the same. Seek early treatment if tests come out to be positive for any STD and encourage your partner to get tested and treated early.

QUESTION

Condoms are the best protection from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 11/18/2021
References
CDC - Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): "Diseases and Related Conditions"

World Health Organization: "Four curable sexually transmitted infections - all you need to know"