Sexually Transmitted Diseases


What is a sexually transmitted disease? A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is an infection caused by bacteria or a virus. It is also known as a sexually transmitted infection. STDs are spread by oral, genital, or anal sex. Some examples of STDs are chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. HIV and viral hepatitis are the most common sexually transmitted infections.

What increases my risk of an STD?

What are the signs and symptoms of an STD? You may have no signs or symptoms. If you do, you may have one or more of the following depending on the STD you have:

How is an STD diagnosed? Your caregiver will examine you and closely look at the affected area. He may ask you about your sexual history or other medical conditions. He will ask you if you have had an STD before. If you are a woman, you may need a pelvic exam to check your vagina, cervix, and other internal organs. You may also need any of the following:

How is an STD treated? Treatment depends on the STD you have.

How can I prevent an STD? Ask your caregiver for more information about the following safe sex practices:

What are the risks of an STD? With treatment, your symptoms or infection may continue or come back. If left untreated, you could spread the infection to your sexual partner, especially if you do not practice safe sex. If you are a woman, the infection may spread and damage other organs, such as your fallopian tubes. An STD can also harm an unborn baby. An infection can cause an ectopic pregnancy, or make it difficult to get pregnant. Some STDs may increase the risk of cancer. Some viral infections, such as hepatitis B or HIV, can cause serious illness and be life-threatening.

Where can I find more information?

When should I contact my caregiver? Contact your caregiver if:

When should I seek immediate care? Seek care immediately or call 911 if:


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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