Sexually Transmitted Disease

Overview of Sexually Transmitted Disease

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are infections that spread through sexual contact. These infections can occur due to bacteria, viruses, or parasites, and they can affect both men and women.

Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Globally, people get more than 1 million sexually transmitted infections every day, typically asymptomatic. Every year, there are estimated 374 million infection cases with 1 of 4 curable STDs; chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.

Signs and Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Disease

The symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can vary depending on the particular infection and the individual's gender, age, and overall health. However, some common symptoms of STDs include:

  • Pain or discomfort during sex or urination
  • Discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Genital sores or ulcers
  • Rash, bumps, or blisters on or around the genitals or anus
  • Itching or burning in the genital or anal area
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin or neck
  • Fever, headache, muscle aches, or fatigue

It is important to note that many people with STDs may not experience any symptoms at all. Therefore, if you are sexually active, get tested regularly for STDs, even if you do not have any symptoms.

Types of Sexually Transmitted Disease

There are many types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Here are some of the most common:

  • Chlamydia: A bacterial infection that can affect both men and women and lead to infertility if left untreated.
  • Gonorrhea: Another bacterial infection that can lead to infertility if left untreated.
  • Syphilis: A bacterial infection that can cause serious health problems if left untreated, including brain and nervous system damage.
  • HIV/AIDS: A viral infection that attacks the immune system and can be fatal if left untreated.
  • Herpes: A viral infection that causes painful sores on or around the genitals or mouth.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): A viral infection that causes genital warts and increases the risk of cervical cancer in women.
  • Trichomoniasis: A parasitic infection that can cause vaginal discharge, itching, and discomfort.

Causes of Sexually Transmitted Disease

The causes of sexually transmitted diseases can vary depending on the specific disease, but they typically include the following:

  • Bacteria: Bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are caused by bacteria that get transmitted during sexual activity.
  • Viruses: Viral infections such as herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HIV are caused by viruses that can spread through sexual contact.
  • Parasites: Parasitic infections such as trichomoniasis are caused by parasites that can get transmitted during sexual activity.
  • Fungi: Fungal infections such as yeast infections can be caused by an overgrowth of fungi in the genital area, which can get triggered by factors such as antibiotics, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.

STDs can spread through various forms of sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Some STDs can also spread through contact with infected bodily fluids, such as blood or semen. It is essential to practice safe intercourse to reduce the risk of contracting an STD by using protection, getting tested regularly, and limiting sexual partners.


Risk Factors of Sexually Transmitted Disease

Several risk factors increase the likelihood of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (STD), including:

  • Unprotected sex: Engaging in sexual activity without using a barrier method such as condoms increases the risk of contracting an STD.
  • Multiple sex partners: Having sex with multiple partners increases the risk of exposure to STDs.
  • Having a partner with an STD: Having sexual contact with a partner who has an STD increases the risk of contracting the same infection.
  • Lack of regular STD testing: Many STDs can be asymptomatic, so getting tested regularly can help detect infections early and prevent complications.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse: Substance abuse can impair judgment and increase the likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behaviors.
  • Having a weakened immune system: People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are more susceptible to STDs.
  • Age: Younger people are at higher risk of contracting STDs due to a lack of sexual experience and knowledge about safe sex practices.


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can lead to many complications that can affect a person's health and well-being. Some of the possible complications of STDs include:

  • Infertility: Some STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, leading to scarring and damage to the reproductive organs. It can lead to infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Increased risk of HIV: STDs can increase the risk of HIV transmission, as they can cause sores and inflammation in the genital area, making it easier for HIV to enter the body.
  • Cancer: Certain types of STDs, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as cervical cancer.
  • Cardiovascular disease: Some STDs, such as syphilis, can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Neurological problems: Syphilis can also lead to neurological problems, such as dementia and other cognitive impairments.
  • Birth defects: STDs can transmit from a pregnant woman to her baby, which can lead to a range of birth defects, such as blindness, deafness, and developmental delays.
  • Chronic pain: Some STDs, such as herpes, can cause chronic pain and discomfort in the genital area.

It's important to get tested and treated for STDs as soon as possible to prevent these complications from occurring.



There are several ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs):

  • Practice safe sex: Use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom or dental dam, during sexual activity to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting STDs.
  • Get vaccinated: Vaccines are available for certain STDs, such as HPV and hepatitis B. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated.
  • Get tested: Get tested for STDs regularly, especially if you have multiple sexual partners. Early detection and treatment of STDs can prevent long-term complications and reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Limit your number of sexual partners: The more sexual partners you have, the greater your risk of contracting an STD. Limiting your number of sexual partners can reduce your risk.
  • Communicate with your partner: Talk openly and honestly with your partner about STDs, testing, and safe sex practices. It can help you both make informed decisions about sexual activity.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs: Substance use can impair judgment and increase the likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behavior, such as having unprotected sex.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to STDs. Practice safe sex, get vaccinated, and get tested regularly to protect your health and well-being.



The diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) usually involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Here are the general steps to diagnose an STD:

  • Medical history: The doctor will ask you questions about your sexual history, such as the number of partners you've had, the types of sexual activities you've engaged in, and whether you've had any symptoms.
  • Physical exam: The doctor may examine your genitals, anus, and other parts of your body to look for any signs of infection or inflammation.
  • Laboratory tests: The doctor may order various laboratory tests to help diagnose an STD. These may include:
    • Blood tests: Blood tests can detect antibodies to certain STDs, which indicate that you've been exposed to the infection.
    • Urine tests: Urine samples can check for the presence of bacteria or viruses that cause certain STDs.
    • Swab tests: Swabs may be taken from your genital area, anus, throat, or other body parts to look for signs of infection.

The specific tests will depend on the suspected STD. Some STDs can be diagnosed with a simple urine or blood test, while others may require more invasive testing.

Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Disease | When to Consult a Doctor

The treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) depends on the specific infection, but in general, STDs can get treated with antibiotics or antiviral medications. Here are some general steps to treat an STD:

  • Diagnosis: The first step in treating an STD is to get an accurate diagnosis. It is usually done through medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests.
  • Medication: Once a diagnosis is made, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to treat the infection. The type of medication will depend on the specific STD and may include antibiotics, antiviral medications, or antifungal medications.
  • Follow-up testing: After completing a course of medication, you may need to return for follow-up testing to ensure that the infection has been successfully treated. It is particularly important for some STDs, such as chlamydia, which can cause long-term complications if left untreated.
  • Partner notification and testing: If you have been diagnosed with an STD, it's important to notify your sexual partners so that they can also be tested and treated if necessary. Your healthcare provider can guide how to do this.
  • Prevention: To prevent future infections, it's important to practice safe sex by using condoms, getting regular STD testing if you're sexually active, and limiting your number of sexual partners.

It's important to note that not all STDs are curable, but many can be treated and managed with appropriate medical care. If you think you may have an STD, it's essential to see a gynecologist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.