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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are caused by infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual contact. These infections often do not cause any symptoms. Medically, infections are only called diseases when they cause symptoms. That is why STDs are also called “sexually transmitted infections.” But it’s very common for people to use the terms “sexually transmitted diseases” or “STDs,” even when there are no signs of disease.
There are many kinds of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. And they are very common — more than half of all of us will get one at some time in our lives. The good news is we can protect ourselves and each other from STDs. Practicing safer sex allows you to reduce your risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases. And if you’ve done anything that puts you at risk of infection, getting tested allows you to get any treatments you may need.
You may have heard of chlamydia, but many people are not sure what it is. Chlamydia (klah MIH dee ah) is an infection caused by a kind of bacteria that is passed during sexual contact. It is especially common among women and men under 25. Learn more.
Only a health care provider can diagnose chancroid. Chancroid symptoms can be confused with other infections, such as herpes and syphilis. Your health care provider will examine the discharge from the sore with a microscope to make a diagnosis. Learn more.
If you look for pubic lice with your naked eye or with a magnifying glass, they look like tiny crabs. They are pale gray but darken in color when swollen with blood. They attach themselves and their eggs to pubic hair, underarm hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows.
You may have heard of pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, but many people are not sure what it is. PID is a serious infection that harms a woman’s reproductive organs. It develops when an infection spreads up from the vagina and cervix into the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries.
HPV stands for human papillomavirus. There are more than 100 types of HPV. Some types produce warts — plantar warts on the feet and common hand warts. About 40 types of HPV can infect the genital area — the vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus, penis, or scrotum.
Herpes is a very common infection. It is caused by two different but closely related viruses. The viruses are herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both are easy to catch. Learn more.
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