Sexually Transmitted Disease

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are illnesses transmitted by sexual contact. STDs comprise a large and diverse set of disease entities which include viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and arthropods. Many of these diseases can cause great harm before symptoms are detected.

List of STDs and their Signs and Symptoms

This list is not complete, and many of these disease agents can be transmitted by non-sexual means. Because there are so many different infections, symptoms can vary greatly. Your doctor can give you a great deal of information and should be consulted early to prevent permanent health problems.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

In the early stages, HIV can cause fevers, rashes, joint pains, and other non-specific symptoms. These usually occur within weeks after exposure. If untreated, HIV infection usually leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) withing eight to ten years. The symptoms of AIDS can be anything, but common presentations include weight loss, night sweats, unusual skin lesions, and diarrhea.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV 1 and 2)

HSV can appear on either the lips or the genitalia. It usually presents as a painful, bumpy rash, sometimes with fever.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

HPV often presents as anogenital warts, or as an abnormality on a pap smear. These lesions can be pre-cancerous.

Hepatitis B and C Viruses (HBV, HCV)

These are often asymptomatic, but over time can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. If any symptoms are present, the illness can look like any hepatitis, that is, jaudice, change in urine or stool color, abdominal swelling, and fatigue.


Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea, "the clap")

In males, this presents as a foul penile discharge. Women may have a vaginal discharge, or no symptoms at all.

Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia)

This presents similarly to gonorrhea, but is often asymptomatic, and is commonly without the patient knowing they are ill.

Treponema pallidum (syphillis)

This organism causes syphilis, a multisystem disease.

Lymphogranuloma venereum Lymphogranuloma venereum is a sexually transmitted disease that mainly infects the lymphatics.[1] There are three different sub-types of the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis that cause lymphogranuloma venereum. [2] Lymphogranuloma venereum is more common in Central America and South America than in North America and there are a few thousand cases of lymphogranuloma venereum each year in the United States.[3] The main risk factor is having multiple sexual partners.[4] Lymphogranuloma venereum is one of the maladies associated with gay bowel syndrome.[5]


Trichamonas vaginalis ("trich")

In females, this usually presents as a foul vaginal discharge, but males are usually asymptomatic. Even though males are asymptomatic, partners of infected females must be treated.


Pubic lice ("crabs")

This presents as itching in the groin, and often small parasites are easily visible.


This often presents as itching, with rash being more prominent between the fingers and toes.


STDs are most easily prevented through abstinence from sexual contact. Latex condoms provide protection against many STDs (including HIV), but not all (such as public lice), they are ineffective when not properly used or in the case of a rupture.

Vaccines are not widely available for STDs. An HPV vaccine has recently been released for protection against certain, but not all, strains of HPV.

People who have been sexually active before marriage can transmit their sexual diseases to their partner after marriage, therefore failure to use proper protection with a spouse can still lead to infection. Additionally many STDs can be transmitted to unborn children. It must be noted that although abstinence until marriage greatly reduces the chance of contracting STDs, it does not eliminate the risk entirely.


Some STDs are curable; many are not. For further information, please consult a physician.