Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
STD stands for sexually transmitted disease, also known as sexually transmitted infection (STI). STIs are infections that are primarily transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. They can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi.
Common examples of STIs include:
- Chlamydia: A bacterial infection that can cause genital discharge and pain during urination. It is one of the most common STIs and can lead to complications if left untreated.
- Gonorrhea: Another bacterial infection that often presents with similar symptoms to chlamydia. It can also lead to serious complications if untreated.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV): A viral infection that can cause genital warts and increase the risk of certain cancers, including cervical cancer.
- Herpes: Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), it presents with sores or blisters in the genital or oral area. It is a lifelong infection that can cause recurrent outbreaks.
- Syphilis: A bacterial infection that progresses through various stages if left untreated. It can cause sores, rashes, and potentially serious complications affecting multiple organs.
- HIV/AIDS: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a viral infection that attacks the immune system, leading to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It can be transmitted through sexual contact, as well as through blood, sharing needles, or mother-to-child during childbirth or breastfeeding.
Prevention is key in reducing the transmission of STIs. Methods of prevention include consistent and correct use of condoms, regular testing for both partners, limiting the number of sexual partners, and open communication about sexual health.
If you suspect you may have an STI or have been exposed to one, it is important to seek medical attention. Many STIs are treatable with medication, and early detection and treatment can prevent complications and further transmission. Healthcare providers can provide appropriate testing, diagnosis, and treatment options based on individual circumstances.