Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are passed from one person to another via sexual acts such as oral sex, anal sex, and penetrative sexual intercourse. There are currently 25 STDs known to the medical community with the most common being syphilis, hepatitis A and B, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and AIDS. These sexually transmitted diseases stem from bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live and multiply in various bodily fluids. The risk of being afflicted with STDs can be increased by having more than one sexual partner as well as engaging in sexual acts with someone who has more than one partner. However, using a condom can greatly lower the risk of contracting all STDs.
Because there is a wide variety of sexually transmitted diseases, there are many symptoms associated with these types of diseases. For example, syphilis is most often realized when small genital warts, clinically called chancres, are present. The chancres, which are similar in size to buttons, may also be seen on the anus and in the throat region. Gonorrhea, also known as "the drip disease" or "the clap," creates a discharge that comes from the penis or vulva and is similar in consistency to mucus. Those who contract genital herpes will notice blister-like ulcers appearing around the genitalia area. In many cases, those with an STD will also suffer from urinary issues.
Although there are vaccines for hepatitis A and B, the only way to be completely protected from any STD is by practicing abstinence. This is why it is recommended to restrict the amount of sexual partners you have to people with clean sexual health histories; this is the most effective way of reducing the risk of STDs. Condoms are also highly effective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases but only when the condom is used properly; otherwise, there is a greater chance of becoming infected. It is important to remember that condoms are not 100% foolproof and are only able to prevent the male penis from coming in contact with the female skin. The genitalia area is still susceptible to STDs such as syphilis even if a condom is used per manufacturer and medical instructions.
If anyone has tested positive for any type of STD, it is imperative to halt all sexual acts until they receive appropriate medical treatment. Except for AIDS, there are treatments for all other STDs and the earlier treatment is received, the better the outcome for the patient. While there are complete cures for a variety of these diseases, some can only be managed through treatment.
The biggest concern medical professionals have regarding STDs is the various complications that can arise. Sometimes infected men may become impotent or experience erectile dysfunction and women can suffer from infertility. Both genders may feel pain and other abnormal sensations while urinating. Other STD symptoms may include blisters, itching, tenderness, and severe pain around affected areas of the body.
It is possible to control the spread of STDs through proper, accurate education. However, since many sexual transmitted diseases stay dormant for months to years from the time of infection, once the visual signs are noticeable, the disease may have spread to dozens of other people so those who are sexually active should always get tested for STDs.