Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infectious diseases that are spread through sexual contact. STDs are on the rise, possibly due to more sexually active people who have multiple sex partners during their lives. Learn more about STDs ›

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  • Chancroid

  • Chlamydia

  • Genital herpes

  • Genital warts

  • Gonorrhea

  • Hepatitis


  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Pubic lice (crabs)

  • Scabies

  • Syphilis

  • Trichomoniasis

  • Blisters and lesions on the genitals

  • Burning with urination

  • Infertility

  • Pain with sexual intercourse

  • Pelvic pain

  • Pubic itching

  • Pubic rashes

  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Testicular pain

  • Thick discharge from the penis

  • Unusual vaginal discharge or vaginal discharge with a foul odor

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Frequent infections

  • Headache

  • Night sweats
  • Shortness of breath

  • Skin rashes and itching

  • Swollen lymph glands

  • Weight loss

Learn more about symptoms of STDs

Treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Treating a sexually transmitted disease early limits the problems they can cause. If you have an STD, get treated right away. Ask your partner to be tested, too. Then avoid sex until you’ve finished treatment and your healthcare provider says it’s okay to have sex again.

Treatment depends on the type of STD you have. Common treatments include injections and oral pills or liquids. Creams and gels can be applied to sores caused by certain STDs. Follow the tips below:

  • Get new treatment for each new STD.

  • Don’t use old medication, even for the same STD. Use medications as directed.

  • Don’t share medication unless instructed to do so by your doctor or clinic.

Learn more about treatment for STDs

Living with Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sex in a monogamous relationship where neither party is infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is believed to be "safe." However, many health care professionals believe there really is no such thing as "safe" sex. They believe the only way to be truly safe is to abstain because all forms of sexual contact carry some risk.

For example, kissing is thought to be a safe activity, but herpes, and other diseases can be contracted this way.

Condoms are commonly thought to protect against STDs. However, while it is true that condoms are useful in preventing certain diseases, such as herpes and gonorrhea, they may not fully protect against other diseases such as genital warts, syphilis, or AIDS.

Learn more about living with STDs

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