Overview-Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United
States. CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year— almost
half of them among young people 15 to 24 years of age. Women, especially young and minority
women, are hit hardest by chlamydia.
Chlamydia remains the most commonly reported disease in the United States. In 2007,
1,108,374 chlamydia diagnoses were reported, up from 1,030,911 in 2006. Women,
especially young and minority women, are hit hardest by chlamydia. Studies have found that
women are most severely impacted by the long-term consequences of untreated chlamydia.
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States, with
355,991 cases reported in 2007. Drug resistance is an important concern in the treatment and
prevention of gonorrhea. CDC recommends that sexually active MSM be tested for syphilis, as
well as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV at least annually.
Common sexually transmitted diseases include BV - Bacterial Vaginosis, chlamydia and
LGV, gonorrhea, herpes, Genital, HPV - Human Papillomavirus Infection, PID - Pelvic
Inflammatory Disease, syphilis and trichomoniasis.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the name of a condition in women where the normal balance of
bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria. It is
sometimes accompanied by discharge, odor, pain, itching, or burning. Bacterial Vaginosis
(BV) is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. In the United States,
BV is common in pregnant women.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium,
Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman's reproductive organs. Even though
symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that cause
irreversible damage, including infertility, can occur "silently" before a woman ever recognizes a
problem. Chlamydia also can cause discharge from the penis of an infected man.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria
gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the
reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian
tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The
bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus.
Any sexually active person can be infected with gonorrhea. In the United States, the highest
reported rates of infection are among sexually active teenagers, young adults, and African
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses
type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). Most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. Most individuals
have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection. When signs do
occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The
blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first
time they occur. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it
almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. Although the infection can stay
in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years.
Genital HPV infection is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by human
papillomavirus (HPV). Human papillomavirus is the name of a group of viruses that includes
more than 100 different strains or types. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted,
and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva
(area outside the vagina), or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum. Most people
who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a general term that refers to infection of the uterus
(womb), fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus) and other
reproductive organs. It is a common and serious complication of some sexually transmitted
diseases (STDs), especially chlamydia and gonorrhea. PID can damage the fallopian tubes
and tissues in and near the uterus and ovaries. PID can lead to serious consequences
including infertility, ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tube or elsewhere outside of
the womb), abscess formation, and chronic pelvic pain.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema
pallidum. It has often been called “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and
symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases.
Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores
occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on
the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying. Syphilis cannot
be spread through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs,
shared clothing, or eating utensils.
Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects both women
and men, although symptoms are more common in women.
Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD in young, sexually active women. An
estimated 7.4 million new cases occur each year in women and men.
Sexually transmitted disease can't be prevented simply by taking supplements.
Personal sexual activities and hygiene are very important.