Sexually transmitted diseases are also called STDs (and sometimes they are referred to as sexually transmitted infections). STDs do not refer to any one disease but include more than 25 infectious organisms. STDs are caused by bacteria or viruses. STDs are almost always spread from person to person by sexual intercourse, but STDs can also be spread through oral/anal sex. Some STDs, such as hepatitis B/C virus or HIV infection, can also be transmitted from person to person by the sharing of contaminated needles or equipment to inject drugs, body piercing or tattooing.
You can protect yourself and others from sexually-transmitted diseases by practicing safer sex. more
Many STDs produce no symptoms. If symptoms are present, they may include the following:
There may or may not be signs or symptoms, and you can be infected without knowing it. If someone, such as your sex partner or the Department of Health, tells you that you have been exposed to an STD, it is very important that you get tested and treated immediately.
In order to diagnose and treat an STD, your doctor will take a detailed sexual history, conduct a thorough physical examination, and order several laboratory tests, including a test for HIV. Your doctor will also provide you with detailed information to prevent transmission of your STD to any of your sexual partner(s). Most physicians urge patients to tell their sex partners if they have an STD so that their partners can seek medical attention. People who are diagnosed with an STD may be contacted by public health professionals in order to assure that their sex partners are counseled, evaluated, and treated.
The treatment of STDs is infection-specific and in accordance with national practice standards.