Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are infections that are primarily spread through sexual contact.
Understanding the various types of STDs is crucial in promoting sexual health and well-being.
In this article, we will explore 25 different types of STDs, their symptoms, treatments, and ways to prevent transmission.
What are STIs?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are spread primarily through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Bacteria, viruses, or parasites can all cause STIs, which affect both men and women.
And STDs can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation.
STIs are typically transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids, including semen, vaginal secretions, and blood. There are 3 categories of STIs.
What are the 3 categories of STIs?
The three categories of STIs are as follows: although the first two are often considered as the two main categories.
- Bacteria STIs
- Viral STIs
- Parasitic STIs
Gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia are examples of bacterial STIs. These infections can be treated with antibiotics, though if left untreated they can lead to serious health complications, including infertility and an increased risk of HIV infection.
Just as the name indicates, Bacteria STIs are caused by bacteria. Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhea, syphilis is caused by Treponema pallidum, and chlamydia is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis.
Viral STIs are caused by viruses. Human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, and human immunodeficiency virus are examples of the causative agents of viral STIs (HIV).
HPV causes genital warts and can lead to certain types of cancer, whereas herpes and HIV can cause more serious health problems, including immune system damage and, in some cases, death.
Although there is no cure for viral STIs, there are treatments available to manage the symptoms.
Pubic lice, scabies, and giardia are examples of parasitic STIs. These infections are typically treatable with medication, but they can be difficult to eradicate and can cause ongoing discomfort and complications.
Pubic lice are parasitic insects found primarily in the genital area of humans and it caused by Pthirus pubis.
Scabies is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei var. Hominins. It is a skin condition that causes an itchy rash and it can spread through skin contact, including sexual contact.
It is highly contagious and can be easily transmitted through bedding and clothing.
Parasitic STIs are basically caused by parasites.
Facts about sexually transmitted diseases in summary
- More than 30 different microorganisms are responsible for different types of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HPV (human papillomavirus), HIV/AIDS, and syphilis are the most common STDs. and HPV is the most common in the United States.
- STDs can be spread via vaginal, anal, or oral sex, as well as skin-to-skin contact.
- Many people with STDs have no symptoms, making it easy to unknowingly spread the infection.
- Condoms offer some protection against STDs, but they are not completely effective.
- Some STDs can be cured with antibiotics or other medications, while others are chronic conditions that can only be managed.
- STDs, if left untreated, can cause serious health issues such as infertility, organ damage, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
- If you are sexually active, it is critical to get tested for STDs on a regular basis, especially if you have multiple partners or engage in high-risk behaviors.
- Anyone who is sexually active, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation, can contract STDs.
- Prevention is the most effective way to avoid contracting an STD. This includes using condoms correctly and consistently, getting vaccinated against HPV, and discussing sexual health openly with your partners.
What are the 25 different types of STDs?
According to WHO, there are more than 30 different bacteria, viruses, and parasites known to be transmitted through sexual contact and these microorganisms are responsible for sexual infections.
- Mycoplasma genitalium
- Ureaplasma infection
- Mycoplasma hominins
- Granuloma inguinale
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis E
- Hepatitis C
- Genital herpes 1
- Genital herpes 2
- Zika virus
- Molluscum contagiosum
- Pubic lice
Associated symptoms of STDs
Some STDs may not show any symptoms at all, or symptoms may not appear for several weeks or months after infection. Here are some of the symptoms of STDs.
- Urination that is painful or burning
- Penile, vaginal, or anus discharge that is abnormal
- Blisters, bumps, or sores in the genital or anal area
- Itching or irritation in the anal or genital region
- Pain while having sex
- Lower abdominal discomfort
- Flu-like symptoms include fever, aches and pains, and swollen glands.
Curable vs. Incurable STDs
STDs can be categorized as either curable or incurable based on whether they can be completely eliminated from the body with appropriate treatment.
Curable STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, can be treated and cured with antibiotics.
On the other hand, incurable STDs, such as herpes and HIV, can be managed but not completely eradicated from the body.
Therefore, early detection and treatment of STDs are crucial in preventing the spread of infections and reducing the risk of complications.
Many STDs may not cause noticeable symptoms, and individuals may unknowingly transmit the infection to their sexual partners.
Regular testing and seeking medical attention promptly can help identify and treat STDs early.
STDs with Vaccines
- HPV and Available Vaccines: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common viral infection that can lead to genital warts and various cancers, including cervical cancer. Fortunately, there are vaccines available that can protect against certain high-risk strains of HPV. The HPV vaccine is recommended for both males and females before they become sexually active.
- Hepatitis B and Available Vaccines: Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver. Vaccines are available to protect against hepatitis B and are recommended for infants, adolescents, and adults who are at risk of contracting the virus.
STDs with No Symptoms
Many STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HPV, can be asymptomatic, meaning they do not cause noticeable symptoms in infected individuals.
As a result, people may unknowingly transmit these infections to their sexual partners. Regular testing and screenings are essential to identify and treat asymptomatic STDs.
Undiagnosed and untreated asymptomatic STDs can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, and an increased risk of acquiring and transmitting other STDs.
STDs and Pregnancy
- Impact of STDs on Pregnancy: STDs can have significant implications for pregnancy. Certain infections, such as syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B, can be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth. It is essential for pregnant individuals to undergo routine STD testing to ensure early detection and appropriate management.
- Vertical Transmission and Prevention: Vertical transmission refers to the transmission of an infection from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Steps can be taken to prevent vertical transmission of STDs, such as administering antiviral medications during pregnancy and avoiding breastfeeding if necessary.
Prevention of STDs
- Safe Sex Practices: Practicing safe sex is a critical aspect of preventing STD transmission. Using condoms consistently and correctly during sexual intercourse can significantly reduce the risk of acquiring and transmitting STDs.
- Regular Screening and Testing: Regular STD testing is crucial, especially for individuals who are sexually active or engage in high-risk behaviors. Early detection allows for prompt treatment and prevents the spread of infections.
Treatment and Management
- Antiviral Medications: For viral STDs such as herpes and HIV, antiviral medications can help manage symptoms, reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks, and control viral replication.
- Antibiotics: Bacterial STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, can be treated and cured with appropriate antibiotics
- . It is essential to complete the full course of treatment as prescribed by a healthcare provider.
- Counseling and Support: Diagnosis of an STD can be emotionally challenging for individuals. Counseling and support from healthcare providers and support groups can help individuals cope with the emotional aspects of living with an STD.
Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant STDs
The misuse and overuse of antibiotics have led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacterial STDs, such as drug-resistant gonorrhea.
This poses a significant challenge for healthcare providers in treating and managing these infections.
To address the rise of antibiotic-resistant STDs, healthcare providers emphasize the importance of safe sex practices, early detection, and appropriate antibiotic use to prevent further resistance.
The Role of Education and Awareness
Comprehensive sex education plays a vital role in preventing the spread of STDs.
Educating individuals about safe sex practices, the importance of regular testing, and the available vaccines can empower them to make informed decisions about their sexual health.
The stigma surrounding STDs can deter individuals from seeking testing and treatment.
Creating an open and non-judgmental dialogue about sexual health can help reduce stigma and encourage responsible sexual practices.
FAQ: Skin-to-skin meaning sexually
Skin-to-skin means sexual intercourse that does not involve the use of condoms between sexual partners. In this case, the man’s genitals and the woman’s genitals are in contact without any form of artificial barrier.
Can you get gonorrhea without being sexually active?
Gonorrhea is almost always transmitted during sexual activity. Either through penetrative or non-penetrative sex. This means if you get it through vaginal sex, it is possible to get it through oral sex.
What are the top 5 STDs?
- Human Papillomavirus (HIV)
- Herpes Simplex Virus
1. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease known as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
The HIV virus can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing of contaminated needles, and from an infected mother to her child during childbirth or breastfeeding.
2. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
HSV is a viral infection that causes genital herpes or oral herpes (cold sores). It is highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with the sores or through skin-to-skin contact during an outbreak. Genital herpes can cause painful sores and blisters in the genital and anal areas.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and one of the most common STDs globally. It is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and can infect both men and women.
Chlamydia often does not cause noticeable symptoms, which can lead to unknowing transmission to sexual partners.
Gonorrhea is another bacterial STD that can affect the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae and can cause symptoms such as painful urination, genital discharge, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women if left untreated.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that progresses in stages if left untreated. It is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum and can be transmitted through sexual contact, as well as from an infected mother to her unborn child.
Syphilis can cause a wide range of symptoms, from painless sores to severe organ damage in later stages.
Which STDs can be treated with antibiotics?
Not all STDs can be treated with antibiotics.
Which STDs cannot be treated with antibiotics?
Viral STDs like Hepatitis B, herpes, HIV, and HPV cannot be cured with antibiotics because they are caused by viruses, not bacteria.
Is tb a sexually transmitted disease?
Tuberculosis is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, however, there have been some rare cases where sexual transmission of TB has been reported.
Understanding the different types of STDs is essential for safeguarding our sexual health and well-being.
STDs can affect anyone, and many infections may not exhibit noticeable symptoms, making regular testing and safe sex practices crucial for prevention and early detection.
If you suspect the presence of an STD in your genital area or throat, it is best you speak to your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Last Updated on July 25, 2023 by Our Editorial Team