There are many different sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs/STDs), many more than most people realize. In fact, STDs are the most common infectious diseases in the US, with 19 million Americans getting a new STD infection every year. Statistically, half of all new STIs occur in 15-24 year old.

All forms of sexual activity can spread STIs. Even if you have only one sexual partner, and he or she had only one sexual partner before you, you could still get a sexually transmitted infection that can become a disease with lifelong implications.

All information about STDs that is presented in the Heritage Keepers curricula has been reviewed and approved for medical accuracy by US Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs, Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.

Bacterial STDs

Common STDs

Chlamydia

Gonorrhea

Syphilis

Trichomoniasis
(Parasite)

Where is it found? Vagina, cervix, urethra, throat, discharge from penis, and rectum Vagina, cervix, uterus, urethra, throat, and rectum Genital area, mouth, skin, anus, and rectum Vagina, cervix, and urethra
How can it be spread? Oral, anal, and vaginal sex; mother to child Oral, anal, and vaginal sex; mother to child Oral, anal, and vaginal sex; mother to child Vaginal sex
What are the possible symptoms and complications? May not have early symptoms, burning or pain with urination, discharge from penis and vagina, chronic low abdomen pain, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility may result (mostly in females) Males: often have no symptoms; may have burning pain with urination
Females: often have no symptoms; may have vaginal discharge, may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or infertility
Painless sore, untreated can spread to brain and/or heart, flu-like symptoms, damage to major body systems if untreated, can cause rash on infants’ skin, birth defects and other organs or possible stillbirth Vaginal discharge and itching, burning during urination, males may have no noticeable symptoms but can cause temporary irritation in penis, may cause early delivery and low birth weight babies
Prevention Abstain from sex; Faithful marriage or mutual monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner; Condoms used correctly and consistently reduce but do not eliminate the risk; Testing and treatment Abstain from sex; Faithful marriage or mutual monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner; Condoms used correctly and consistently reduce but do not eliminate the risk; Testing and treatment Abstain from sex; Faithful marriage or mutual monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner; Condoms used correctly and consistently reduce but do not eliminate the risk; Testing and treatment Abstain from sex; Faithful marriage or mutual monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner; Condoms used correctly and consistently reduce but do not eliminate the risk; Testing and treatment
What are the treatments? Antibiotics (permanent damage may have occurred prior to treatment) Antibiotics (permanent damage may have occurred prior to treatment) Antibiotics (permanent damage may have occurred prior to treatment) Antibiotics (permanent damage may have occurred prior to treatment)

 

Viral STDs

Common STDs

Genital Herpes:
Herpes Simplex Virus

Human Papillomavirus
(HPV)

Hepatitis B

HIV/AIDS

Where is it found? Genitals and/or rectum Vagina, cervix, penis, vulva, anus, scrotum, and other genital areas Blood, semen, and vaginal fluid Blood, semen, cervical and vaginal fluid, and breast milk
How can it be spread? Oral, anal, and vaginal sex; contact with infected skin; rarely mother to child Anal, and vaginal sex; contact with infected skin; rarely mother to child Oral, anal, and vaginal sex; IV drug use; mother to child Oral, anal, and vaginal sex; IV drug use; mother to child
What are the possible symptoms and complications? Often no symptoms are present; painful blisters or sores, fever, and swollen glands may occur, symptoms can recur throughout life, rarely serious infection can occur when passed to newborns Most have no symptoms, but some can get genital warts, can cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus and penis Often there are no obvious symptoms; jaundice, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, joint pain, can lead to liver cancer and liver failure No early symptoms or some flu-like symptoms that are often not noticed, rash, weakens immune system, multiple severe reactions
Prevention Abstain from sex; Faithful marriage or mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner; Condoms used correctly and consistently reduce but do not eliminate the risk; Testing and treatment HPV vaccine (for some strains of HPV); Abstain from sex; Faithful marriage or mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner; Condoms used correctly and consistently reduce but do not eliminate the risk Hepatitis B vaccine; Abstain from sex; Faithful marriage or mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner; Condoms used correctly and consistently reduce but do not eliminate the risk; Testing Abstain from sex; Faithful marriage or mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner; Condoms used correctly and consistently reduce but do not eliminate the risk; Testing
What are the treatments? Symptom control that can help reduce recurrences, but not cure No cure for infection, but medications can remove visible genital warts. Regular Pap testing and follow-up medical treatment may deter development of cervical cancer. Chronic infection can be treated with medication. No cure Symptom control with AIDS medicines (antiretroviral drugs); Lifetime treatment is required; No cure

Young people who start having sex at an early age tend to have more sexual partners than those who wait. Additional partners increase the probability of pregnancy and disease.

Contraception, when used consistently and correctly can reduce – but not eliminate – the chance of pregnancy. Different methods have varying effectiveness/failure rates. Most methods do not provide any protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

The surest and most effective way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual activity and other health compromising behaviors.

Sexual activity is safest in a mutually faithful marriage relationship, with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected and where both marriage partners do not participate in other health compromising behaviors.

Correct and consistent use of the male latex condom can reduce the risk of STD transmission. However, no protective method is 100 percent effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD. That is why abstinence is so important.

In order to achieve the protective effect of condoms, they must be used correctly and consistently. Incorrect use can lead to condom slippage or breakage, thus diminishing their protective effect. Inconsistent use, e.g. failure to use condoms with every act of intercourse, can lead to STD transmission because transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse.

Condoms provide different levels of protection for various sexually transmitted diseases, depending on how the diseases are transmitted. Because condoms block the discharge of semen and protect the male urethra against exposure to vaginal secretions, a greater level of protection is provided for the discharge diseases (HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis). A lesser degree of protection is provided for the genital ulcer diseases (syphilis and genital herpes) or HPV because these infections may be transmitted by exposure to areas, e.g., infected skin or mucosal surfaces that are not covered or protected by the condom.

Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Trichomoniasis.

Genital herpes, Syphilis and HPV infections can occur in both male and female areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well in areas that are not covered. Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of genital herpes and syphilis only when the infected area or site of potential exposure is protected. While the effect of condoms in preventing human papillomavirus infection is unknown, condom use has been associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV- associated disease. (CDC, 2003)

Those who have already had sex can recommit to abstinence from sexual activity and other health compromising behaviors and begin immediately eliminating the risks associated with sex outside of the marriage commitment. It is important for them to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and for females, pregnancy. Those who have not yet had sex can commit to abstaining from sex until marriage and not participate in other health compromising behaviors. Sexual activity is safest in a mutually faithful marriage relationship, where both partners are uninfected and both marriage partners do not participate in other health compromising behaviors.