STD Facts, Causes, Types & Transmission
STDs are sexually transmitted diseases. They are sometimes also referred to as a sexually transmitted infections or STIs. In most cases, but not always, STDs are spread through sexual intercourse or sexual contact. Some of the most prevalent STDs include HIV, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, some forms of hepatitis, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.
In the past, STDs were referred to as venereal diseases or VD. STDs are among the most prevalent contagious diseases throughout the world. An estimated 65 million people in the United States are living with an incurable STD. 20 million new cases of STDs are reported every year. Approximately half of these infections impact people who are between the ages of 15-24 and can often have consequences which last a lifetime.
STDs are considered to be a serious illness which requires treatment. There are also STDs, including HIV, which have no cure and can be fatal. It is important to have a good understanding of STDs, as education can aid in the protection and prevention of getting infected.
STDs are most commonly transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Although there are some forms of STDs, such as herpes, which can be transmitted through other forms of close contact. Although it is rare, patients can also be infected with trichomoniasis through contact with damp or moist objects including towels, wet clothing, and toilet seats. However, this infection is typically spread through sexual contact. The following increase the risk for contracting an STD:
- Having more than one sexual partner
- Not using a condom during sexual intercourse
- Sexual intercourse with a parted who has had multiple partners
- Sharing needles during the injection of intravenous drugs
- Trading sex in exchange for money or drugs
HIV and herpes are both chronic conditions which cannot be cured. Medication can be used for the management of the symptoms. While hepatitis B can be managed, it may also become chronic. Because there are sometimes no symptoms, people often do not realize they have an STD. In some cases, a patient isn’t aware they have an STD until there is damage to their reproductive organs, making them infertile, or they have issues with their vision, heart, or other organs. STDs can also weaken the immune system, making patients more vulnerable to other types of infections. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a complication of gonorrhea and chlamydia, can leave women infertile and unable to have children. In severe cases, PID can be fatal. Some STDs can also be passed from mother to baby during birth or delivery, which may cause permanent damage or death.
STDs include many different types of infections. Bacterial STDs can include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The following STDs are viral: HIV, genital herpes, genital warts (HPV), and hepatitis B. While the STD trichomoniasis is from a parasite.
The germs which can cause an STD are able to hide in semen, blood, vaginal secretions, and even saliva. In most cases, these organisms are spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. However, some types of STDs, such as genital herpes and genital warts, may be spread through skin to skin contact. Hepatitis B can be transmitted through contact with shared personal items, including a toothbrush or razor.