The Most Common STDs (Text-Only Version)

ChlamydiaTrichomoniasis (Trich)GonorrheaGenital Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
What is it?A bacterial infection of the genitals, anus, or throat.A parasitic infection of the genitals.A bacterial infection of the genitals, anus, or throat.A viral infection with over 40 types that can infect the genitals, anus, or throat, including HPV types that cause warts and cancer.
How many people get it in the US?Over 1 million cases are reported each year. The highest proportion of cases is among women aged 15 to 24.There are an estimated 7.4 million new cases each year.About 300,000 new cases are reported each year. The highest rates are among women aged 15 to 24 and men aged 20 to 24.More than 50% of sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lives. An estimated 6 million new cases occur each year, with at least 20 million people already infected.
SymptomsOften there are no symptoms. For women who do experience symptoms, they may have vaginal discharge that is discolored or yellow-green, bleeding (not their period), and/or burning and pain during urination. For men who do experience symptoms, they may have discharge or pain during urination, and/or burning or itching around the opening of the penis.Often there are no symptoms. For women who do experience symptoms, they may notice a frothy, smelly, yellowish-green vaginal discharge, and/or genital area discomfort. Men who have symptoms may temporarily have a discharge from the penis, slight burning after urination or ejaculation, and/or an irritation in the penis.Most infected people have no symptoms. For those who do, it can cause a burning sensation while urinating, abnormal white, green, and/or yellowish vaginal or penile discharge. Women may also have abnormal vaginal bleeding and/or pelvic pain. Men may also have painful or swollen testicles.Most infected people have no symptoms. But some HPV types can cause genital warts– small bumps in and around the genitals (vagina, vulva, penis, testicles, and anus, etc.). If they do occur, warts may appear within weeks or months of having sex with an infected partner. Cancer-causing HPV types do not cause symptoms until the cancer is advanced.
How it’s passed onThrough vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can also be passed on from mother to child during childbirth.Through vaginal sex.Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can also be passed on from mother to child during childbirth.Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can also be passed on during skin-to-skin sexual contact, and in rare cases, from mother to child during childbirth.
TreatmentOral antibiotics cure the infection. Both partners must be treated at the same time to prevent passing the infection back and forth. Both partners should abstain from sex until the infection is gone. Persons with chlamydia should be tested for other STDs.Antibiotics can cure the infection. Both partners must be treated at the same time to prevent passing the infection back and forth. Both partners should abstain from sex until the infection is gone.Oral antibiotics can cure the infection. Both partners must be treated at the same time to prevent passing the infection back and forth. Both partners should abstain from sex until the infection is gone. Persons with gonorrhea should be tested for other STDs.There is no cure for HPV (a virus), but there are ways to treat HPV-related problems. For example, warts can be removed, frozen off, or treated through topical medicines. Even after treatment, the virus can remain and cause recurrences (warts come back).
Possible consequences (if left untreated)Increased risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV. In women, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can lead to infertility and tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. Men may develop pain and swelling in the testicles, although this is rare. Babies born to infected women can develop eye or lung infections.Increased risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV. In women, trich can cause complications during pregnancy.Increased risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV. In women, gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can lead to infertility and tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. Men may develop epididymitis, a painful condition, which can lead to infertility. Babies born to infected women can develop eye infections.Genital warts will not turn into cancer over time, even if they are not treated. Babies born to women with genital warts can develop warts in the throat. Cancer-causing HPV types can cause cervical cancer & other less common cancers (like anal cancer) if the infection lasts for years. Cervical cancer is rare in women who get regular Pap tests.
Testing & VaccinationAnyone who has had sex may be at risk for an STD, even when there are no symptoms. Because chlamydia is so common and can cause infertility, annual screening is recommended for sexually active young women. Talk to your health care provider about testing.Anyone who has had sex may be at risk for an STD, even when there are no symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about testing.Anyone who has had sex may be at risk for an STD, even when there are no symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about testing.All women should get screened for cervical cancer (Pap test) starting at age 21. HPV vaccines for males and females can protect against some of the most common types of HPV. It is best to get all three doses (shots) before becoming sexually active. See a health care provider if you think you may have genital warts.
Genital HerpesSyphilisHepatitis B Virus (HBV)HIV
What is it?A viral infection of the genital areas. It can also infect the mouth and lips.An infection caused by bacteria that can spread throughout the body.A viral infection affecting the liver- HBV can be acute (mild illness lasting for a short time) or chronic (a serious life-long illness).The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS.
How many people get it in the US?At least 50 million people are already infected with herpes, or about one in six people. An estimated 1 million new infections occur each year.About 45,000 new cases are reported each year.An estimated 43,000 new cases are reported each year (most of which are acquired through sex). Up to 1.4 million people are already infected with chronic HBV.About 56,000 new infections occur each year, with an estimated 1.1 million people already living with HIV.
SymptomsMost people have no symptoms. Herpes 1 typically causes cold sores and fever blisters in or around the mouth; Herpes 2 typically causes genital sores or blisters. But both viruses can cause sores in either area. A herpes outbreak can start as red bumps and then turn into painful blisters or sores. During the first outbreak , it can also lead to flu-like symptoms (like a fever, headaches, and swollen glands).Symptoms vary based on the course (timing) of infection—beginning with a single, painless sore (called a chancre) on the genitals, anus, or mouth Other symptoms may appear up to 6 months after the first sore has disappeared, including a rash. However, there may be no noticeable symptoms until syphilis has progressed to more serious problems (see below).Many people don’t have any symptoms, especially adults. People may experience tiredness, aches, nausea & vomiting, loss of appetite, darkening of urine, tenderness in the stomach, or yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (called jaundice). Symptoms of acute HBV may appear 1 to 6 months after exposure. Symptoms of chronic HBV can take up to 30 years to appear, although liver damage can occur silently.Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms and feel healthy. Symptoms don’t usually develop until a person’s immune system has been weakened. The symptoms people experience are usually related to infections and cancers they get due to a weakened immune system.
How it’s spreadThrough vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can also be passed through skin-to-skin sexual contact, kissing, and rarely, from mother to child during childbirth.Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can also be passed through kissing if there is a lesion (sore) on the mouth, and from mother to child during childbirth.Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Also through childbirth if the baby does not get vaccinated against HBV; sharing contaminated needles or razors; or exposure to the blood, bodily fluids (like cum) or saliva of an infected person.Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Also by sharing contaminated needles or drug works; and from mother-to-child during pregnancy or breast-feeding. The chance of getting it through kissing is very low.
TreatmentThere is no cure for herpes– the virus stays in the body and may cause recurrent outbreaks. Medications can help treat symptoms, reduce the frequency of outbreaks, and reduce the likelihood of spreading it to sex partners.Antibiotic treatment can cure syphilis if it’s caught early, but medication can’t undo damage already done. Both partners must be treated and avoid sexual contact until the sores are completely healed.Most often, acute HBV is treated with rest, eating well, and lots of fluids. Chronic HBV is treated through close monitoring by a doctor and anti-retroviral medications.There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. Antiretroviral treatment can slow the progression of HIV disease & delay the onset of AIDS. Early diagnosis & treatment can improve a person’s chances of living a longer, healthier life.
Possible consequencesIncreased risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV. Some people with herpes may get recurrent sores. Passing herpes from mother to newborn is rare, but an infant with herpes can become very ill.Increased risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV. Untreated, the symptoms will disappear, but the infection stays in the body and can cause damage to the brain, heart, and nervous system, and even death. Syphilis in women can seriously harm a developing fetus during pregnancy.Increased risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV. Chronic, persistent inflammation of the liver and later cirrhosis or cancer of the liver. Babies born to infected women are likely to develop chronic HBV infection if they don’t get needed immunizations at birth (including HBV vaccination).Increased risk for other life-threatening infections and certain cancers. By weakening the body’s ability to fight disease, HIV makes an infected person more vulnerable to infections that they wouldn’t otherwise get. HIV can also cause infections that anyone can get, such as other STDs and pneumonia, to be much worse. Left untreated, HIV infection is a fatal disease.
Testing and PreventionIf you think you may have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms, see a health care provider about testing. Remember: anyone who has had sex may be at risk for an STD.Anyone who has had sex may be at risk for an STD, even when there are no symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about testing.Vaccines are the best way to prevent HBV. You should get vaccinated for HBV if you were not vaccinated (3 doses) when you were younger.You should get tested for HIV if you are 13-64 years-old and have not been tested before. Annual testing is also recommended for those who have had unprotected sex, a new sex partner, or shared needles or equipment to inject drugs.

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