What are STDs?

STDs are Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Diseases that are transmitted through sexual contact are called "Sexually Transmitted Diseases" or STDs.  Similarly, infections transmitted through sexual contact are called "Sexually Transmitted Infections" or STIs.  The most common term used in the literature is STD.

There are several diseases and related conditions under the STD category.  Currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US has cataloged them as follows: (in alphabetical order)

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis, Viral
  • Herpes, Genital
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS)
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis

Other STDs less commonly prevalent and not covered in this article are:

  • Chancroid
  • Lymphogranuloma Venerium (LGV)
  • Scabies

Following are important facts about STDs:

  • The most common STD reported to the CDC in the US is Chlamydia. 
  • The most effective mode of prevention of STDs is not to have sexual contact.  Especially not to have sexual contact with multiple partners.
  • Other less effective modes of prevention of certain STDs are vaccines that are currently available against some types of Hepatitis and HPV.
  • The STDs curable with antibiotics are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and Trichomonas.
  • The most easily cured STD is Trichomoniasis or Trichomonas infection.
  • The STDs for which there is no cure as of 2012 are Genital Herpes and HIV.  Although medical science has developed ways to lessen the symptoms of these diseases and therefore lower the risk of spreading them.
  • Untreated STDs can make a person vulnerable to HIV infection.  This can happen either due to their debilitated immune system or due to damaged genital tissues.
  • The CDC has published several easy to read articles about STDs that are an excellent source about each of these diseases and conditions which are explained individually.
  • There are ways you can order your own tests for most of the STDs if you fear that you have been exposed.  However, while these tests include most STDs they do not include those that require actual sampling of the tissues i.e. HPV or Trichomonas. 
  • Therefore it is most recommended to seek the help of a medical professional if you suspect you have been exposed to an STD.