Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are caused by infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual contact.
These infections often do not cause any symptoms. Medically, infections are only called diseases when they cause symptoms. That is why STDs are also called “sexually transmitted infections.” But it’s very common for people to use the terms “sexually transmitted diseases” or “STDs,” even when there are no signs of disease.
There are two major causes of STDs/STIs:
- Bacteria, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis
- Viruses, including HIV/AIDS, herpes simplex virus, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B virus, and cytomegalovirus (CMV; pronounced sahy-toh-MEG-uh-loh-vahy-ruhs), yeasts and protozoan parasites, such as Trichomonas vaginalis (pronounced TRIK-uh-MOH-nuss vaj-uh-NAHY-lis), or insects such as crab lice or scabies mites, cause STDs/STIs.1
Any STD/STI can be spread through sexual intercourse, and some STDs/STIs also are spread through oral sex and sex play. Ejaculation does not have to occur for an STD/STI to be passed from person to person. Sharing contaminated needles used to inject drugs or using contaminated body piercing and tattooing equipment also can transmit some infections, such as HIV or hepatitis B and C. Continue Reading
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection of your genital tract. Chlamydia may be difficult to detect because early-stage infections often cause few or no signs and symptoms. When they do occur, they usually start one to three weeks after you’ve been exposed to chlamydia. Even when signs and symptoms occur, they’re often mild and passing, making them easy to overlook.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Painful urination
- Lower abdominal pain
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Discharge from the penis in men
- Pain during sexual intercourse in women
- Bleeding between periods in women
- Testicular pain in men Continue Reading
The treatment of STDs depends on the infection. In the case of gonorrhea and chlamydia, your doctor will usually give an antibiotic injection to treat gonorrhea and oral antibiotics to treat chlamydia.
Genital herpes is a lifelong infection with no cure. However, the blistering skin sores won’t last as long if you treat genital herpes with an oral antiviral medication as soon as symptoms of an attack occur. If you have frequent attacks, you should ask your doctor for a prescription for an antiviral medication, such as acyclovir(Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) or valacyclovir (Valtrex) so that you will have it when you need it. Taking antiviral medicine every day may reduce the frequency of attacks by 80 percent in people who have frequent episodes of severe genital herpes. Continue Reading
How Do STD Home-Testing Kits Work?
Self-test diagnostic kits can be purchased over the counter (OTC) at most major pharmacies as well as online and used at home. Typically, these tests involve collecting a sample of urine, blood or feces. Some of the simpler kits will give results within minutes, usually by showing a change in color in a test material. Other kits may require the tester to send in their sample for more extensive laboratory testing. The results are then either sent to the customer or to their General Practitioner. Continue Reading