Written by medical and health professionals
Written by health professionals: M.D., Psychologist, and others - easy to read. Std's can infect anyone, whether sexually active or not.
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The professionals behind StdsAndYou.com

Donald Urquhart,(BA & DipAppPsy), Fully Registered Psychologist..

Michael T. Sapko, M.D., Ph.D., professional medical writer, who goes to great lengths to get updated and relevant information into his articles.

Loni Ice, (CphT), Certified Pharmacy Technician - the one behind the counter you ask for help from with your std problem.

Chris and Jonathan Urquhart, Students, for helping with images, navigation and design.

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Sexually Transmitted Disease - STD

Abbreviations: Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's). STD refers to one sexually transmitted disease, and STI refers to one sexually transmitted infection.

Picture below: Condoms can offer some great protection, but they don't protect against all STD's

Lady with condom ready behind her back

Definition of STD or What is an STD?

An std is short for, defined as, a sexually transmitted disease. But what is a sexually transmitted disease? Properly defined, an STD is a virus, fungi, bacteria or parasite that can be spread through sexual acts.

It is vitally important to realize that most STDs can be spread WITHOUT any sexual contact at all.

Some STD's can be picked up from used towels, some, like fungi STDs, exist in everyone's bodies already but don't cause trouble until they start growing. So don't assume your sexual partner has been unfaithful.

These 26 STDs carry the tag sexually transmitted, because they MAY be spread that way.

Page Contents

Introduction To Stds and You

  • Abrreviations Used
  • Std definition / What is an STD/STI? and STD does not imply unfaithfulness
  • Types of STD's you can get
  • Risk of Stds for You

Help, I think I have and STD infection!

  • What are the Symptoms of an STD infection?

How DANGEROUS is this STD? OR the STI and STD Complications you should know about

  • STI and STD can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • STI and STD can cause Cancer
  • STI and STD can cause Immune System Compromise
Pregnancy and STDs

STD Prevention: Condoms, Monogamy and Abstinence

  • Latex condoms
  • Douching, washing the genitals and urinating after sex - doesn't work
  • Don't take your partner's word for it, he or she may not know they've got and STD.
  • If you've never been tested before, get tested
STD AND STI References

Types of Std's you can get:

In each link below you will find each type of Std, e.g. viral stds covered on one page, with each type of viral std covered succinctly on that viral std page. For some of the stds, e.g. the parasitic std, scabies, we have a highly informative page just on scabies as well. Each of these pages - both for types and specific STD's contains suggested treatment actions for you to consider, as well as photos of the std.

Parasitic Stds: Fungal Stds: Viral std: Bacterial std:
  • Herpes Simplex
  • Human Papilloma Virus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Human herpes virus type 8
  • Hepatitis A, B, and C
  • Adult T-cell leukemia
  • Molluscum Contagiousum
  • STD AND STI Viruses References
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • The Std Bacterial Vaginosis
  • The Std Gonorrhea
  • The Std Chlamydia
  • The Chancroid STD
  • The Std, Donovanosis
  • Enteritis and Proctocolitis Stds
  • STD Neonatal Sepsis and Postpartum Fever
  • Stds and Postpartum Fever and Meningitis
  • The Std Shigellosis

On a side note, STIs may be the term of the future. Lots of people get STD's and lots of people make STD phone calls. With both sorts of STD's so popular, the term STD creates confusion and difficulties for the many, many people wanting information on STD.

To overcome this, some places, such as Australia, now refer to Sexually Transmitted Diseases as Sexually Transmitted Infections. It's a good idea, and may be taken up by the rest of the world in the not to distant future.


Stds Risk and Prevalence and You

As stated, there are masses of people with STDs. How many? Well, according to cdc.gov, the number in the USA is over 45 million people aged from 12 years and up, are infected with genital herpes alone - that alone means that out every five people you see walking down the street that are over 12 years of age, one of them has genital herpes.

Think about it, in the course of a day, how many people do you pass on the street? AND that's just genital herpes we are talking about. There are actually around 26 STDs, of which herpes is just one.

Of course the sexually riskier the environment, e.g. church versus a singles bar, the higher the incidence of STDS there will be there. Your chance of going with someone and getting an STD is increased - that's just common logic.

Worldwide, we are talking about 500 million people, with 20 million more added each year, again this is for genital herpes alone.

STDs are also on the rise everywhere it seems.

Elderly man with condom

Amongst older, 45+ age group, it's rising as well, as these people have tended to link condom use with birth control.

With the risk of pregnancy or getting someone pregnant gone, these older people stopped using condoms, and have exposed themselves to greater risk of STD infection as a result.

Source: the British Government's Health Protection Agency.

The British Government's Health Protection Agency also found that STDs were mainly to be found in the younger age groups - expected. Disturbingly, they also found that STDs - chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis - had risen sharply in numbers infected.

In the United States the incidence of STIs and STDs is on the rise as well.

Reported cases of chlamydia increased in the US by 5.6% between 2005 and 2006, while reported gonorrhea increased by 5.5%. Reported syphilis rates have steadily been increasing since 2001 after reaching a record low.

Causes of this STD increase around the world?

While improved testing and better reporting may account for some of this increase, it probably doesn't account for all.

Lack of education, social embarrassment and irresponsible dating behavior all have their parts to play as well.

Remember that some people don't get STD symptoms even while they're contagious, so don't ever take anyone's word for it. He or she may not know. The best way to protect yourself is to get the best education you can and act on it when appropriate.


Help, I think I have and STD infection!

Nothing is so frightening as thinking you might have a life threatening, incurable illness and nor more joyous than finding out you only have a simple bacterial infection. Of course, the other way around doesn't even bear thinking about.


What are the Symptoms of an STD infection?

However, the reason so many of them look the same is because many STI and STD symptoms are produced by your immune system, not by the bug itself.

Inflammation, discharge, burning and itching are the body's signals that something's gotten in.

Unless you really know what you're looking at, or happen to keep a pathology laboratory in your home, it can be kind of difficult to really know what any given invader is.

Of course, some things just require the pathology lab itself to be sure.

While you'll probably need to go to a doctor for any STD except a recurring yeast infection anyway, knowing what you're probably looking at can be darned helpful in countering the blind terror a genital infection can produce.

Specifically, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is by definition any disease that may be acquired as a result of sexual intercourse or other intimate contact with another infected person.

The presence of a STD does not automatically mean that the person who has it had sex with anyone.

There are a variety of ways you can get some of these, from having a blood transfusion to picking it up off of someone else's clothing or towels.

The specific methods of transmission are listed in more detail with each individual disease.

Broadly speaking, there are four distinct types of sexually transmitted disease.

You can get an STD caused by a bacterial infection, a viral infection, fungi (yeast) outbreak, or a parasitic infection.

STI and STD Treatment varies per these groups.

Bacterial, fungi and parasitical diseases are usually fairly easy to treat if caught early while viral diseases are difficult if not impossible to completely cure.

However, even if an STD can't be cured, it can usually be managed to some degree.

The ultimate point is that any STD can seriously hurt or even kill you if you don't take care of it properly.

This page is about STDs in general, while each category also has its own page, or soon will have, with the relevant details about each specific disease.

We've broken them up this way for the sake of readability.

However, yeast infection, bacterial, viral and parasitic STDs can all have similar symptoms, so if you're really lost for what you might have, read all of them.


How DANGEROUS is this STD? OR the STI and STD Complications you should know about

STI and STD can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a common complication of several STDs.

Technically speaking, pelvic inflammatory disease is defined as infection of the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes and so only applies to women.

However, men can get their prostate or testes infected, so keep reading.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common culprits, but even an untreated yeast infection can lead to PID. It can be treated if caught promptly, but if it goes on too long permanent damage can result.

The symptoms of PID are pain in the lower abdomen, fever, a discharge with a truly bad odor, pain during sexual intercourse and bleeding from the genitalia.

Possible permanent damage includes scar tissue in the reproductive organs, chronic pain and infertility.

In addition, PID can contribute to something called an ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube rather than in the uterus where it's supposed to. Ectopic pregnancies can cause severe pain, internal bleeding, infertility and death.

STI and STD can cause Cancer

Many STDs can significantly raise your chances for cancer.

The best known is the human papilloma virus, or HPV, which is often linked to genital cancer in both men and women.

Hepatitis A, B and C can all also contribute to cancer of the liver, while human t-lymphotropic retrovirus type 1 causes leukemia or lymphoma.

Genital, liver and blood cancers can all kill you and they're usually pretty nasty about it too.

If a STD infection gets this far, you have the same chances as anyone with these particular kinds of cancer, so it's best to protect yourself beforehand rather than worry about it after.

STI and STD can cause Immune System Compromise

The HIV virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is perhaps the most famous STD that suppresses your immune system.

HIV does so directly, targeting and killing the white blood cells that your body uses to fend off disease.

However, almost any STD can have a negative impact on your immune system as a whole.

Every time your body has to fight one invader off, it steals away energy and resources needed to fight other invaders.

Untreated STDs can give other, opportunistic infections like tuberculosis or yeast infections the opening to get in.


Pregnancy and STDs

Pregnant lady

All STDs can be passed on to children either while in the womb or during birth.

Most are passed on during birth as Mom and baby don't fully share a circulatory system.

Some STDs such as syphilis and HIV can get through the placental barrier to infect the baby before birth.

HIV can even be passed through breast milk, but fortunately most other STDs can't.

Effects of STDs on newborns include the possibility of stillbirth, low birth weight, eye infections, pneumonia, systemic infection in the baby's blood, brain damage, blindness, deafness, liver damage, and meningitis.

Most of these are avoidable even for women who have an incurable sexually transmitted disease with appropriate management, which is why disease testing soon after conception and again right before birth is important.

Pregnant women can, of course, get infected with an STD just as easily as any woman.

In addition, pregnant women can suffer any of the same complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease.

Pregnancy offers no protection against any sexual consequence except pregnancy itself, which is to say that while you're pregnant you won't get pregnant again.

All other consequences are still fair game.


How do I avoid getting an STD? OR

STD Prevention: Condoms, Monogamy and Abstinence

Latex condoms provide a measure of protection against sexually transmitted diseases, but they don't protect against all of them and they don't protect all the time.
Washed condom hang out to dry

Some STDs, such as herpes, scabies, syphilis and lice, transmit their infections from the contact of skin on skin, not the transmission of sexual fluid such as semen or female lubrication. These STDs are not stopped by use of a condom, especially if the infection is on another, close part of the body such as in the pubic area.

If a condom slips off or breaks, then STD protection is nothing, zero, nada.

If your mucus membranes come in contact with an infected person's sexual fluids, you stand the same chances of getting an STD as if you'd used nothing at all.

Therefore, know what you can and can't avoid with use of a condom, and know how to use a condom correctly to avoid breakage or slippage.

On the bright side, latex condoms that function properly do protect you from the deadliest and most untreatable of sexually transmitted diseases.

Photo left is of a washed condom hang out to dry. Rule 1 - Never reuse a condom. The condom may seem to be clean and perfectly good, but it is a single use product which frequently will fail second time round, and the germs are likely never going to be completely removed by washing.

Douching, washing the genitals and urinating after sex do nothing at all to protect from STDs. In fact, douching can actually increase your chances of getting a few such as yeast and bacterial infections.

The only one hundred percent method of not getting an STD is absolute and total abstinence, forever.

The other most commonly accepted way for those who don't want to take religious vows is to be in a monogamous relationship where you've both been tested and seen the other person's results.

Don't take your partner's word for it, he or she may not know they've got an STD.

In addition, keep in mind that if your partner has sex with someone else and lies about it, he or she may have just put you at risk for a sexually transmitted disease. Make sure you and your partner are really on the same page about the exclusivity of your relationship, and don't hesitate to use words like "It could be fatal if we're not honest."

If you've had a monogamous relationship and broken up, get tested. Do you really want to bet your life on the word of your ex?

If you've never been tested before, get tested. Even if you're a virgin, get tested.

Many STDs don't require sex, sex is just one way to get them.

Education and honesty with yourself are the best ways to avoid STDs as much as humanly possible.


STD AND STI References

Taber's Encyclopedia

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance,
2006. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, November 2007.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2006.
[Title]. MMWR 2006;55

Being faithful in marriage is the easiest way of avoiding infectious diseases, such as STDs - STIs


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