The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates millions of people contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD), also referred to as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), each year. These common infections are spread through oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse, and although rare, intimate physical contact. All STIs can be treated with medicine and some cured completely. Even so, they can cause unpleasant symptoms. When not treated, they can even lead to more serious health problems. Below we have proved a complete list of all STDs with their associated symptoms and treatment options.
Men and women can both contract chlamydia through sexual activity. While it is a common STD, it often causes no symptoms so many people who are infected don’t know they have it. Untreated chlamydia may lead to permanent damage to the reproductive system and even infertility, especially for women (although men can develop infertility, too).
Symptoms: Most people with chlamydia don’t have any symptoms. For the men and women who do, painful and frequent urination is common. Other symptoms include discharge from the penis or vagina. Men might experience pain and swelling in one or both testicles, and women may have bleeding between periods or with sex. People can also contract chlamydia in the rectum, leading to anal discharge and bleeding.
Treatment: Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium and can be cured with antibiotics, although damage already done to the reproductive tract is permanent. Sexual partners should be treated to avoid re-infection
Like chlamydia, gonorrhea is often asymptomatic, is caused by a bacterium, affects both men and women, is sexually transmitted, and can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system. It can cause infections in the genitals, the rectum and the throat. According to the CDC, it is especially common among those aged 15 to 24.
Symptoms: Most men and women don’t experience any symptoms with gonorrhea. When they do, symptoms include burning during urination, discharge from the penis or vagina, and anal discharge and bleeding. Women might experience abnormal bleeding between periods or with sex.
Treatment: Treatment for gonorrhea has become more difficult because of drug-resistant strains, but in most cases, antibiotics cure the infection. As with chlamydia, treatment will not reverse any reproductive tract damage already done, and partners should be treated to avoid re-infection.
Hepatitis literally means “inflammation of the liver.” In the United States, there are three main types of hepatitis virus: A, B and C. Hepatitis A virus is present in fecal matter, and therefore can be transmitted via “rimming,” but is otherwise not usually considered an STD. Hepatitis B is often contracted through oral, vaginal and anal sex. Hepatitis C can also be contracted through sexual activity, although this is a less common means of transmission. While hepatitis A almost always goes away on its own, hepatitis B and C often cause chronic infections. Children and young adults are now vaccinated for hepatitis A and B; unfortunately, no vaccine is available for hepatitis C.
Symptoms: Hepatitis B and C share symptoms including fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, dark urine, jaundice, pale bowel movements and jaundice. However, many people have no symptoms until they develop liver failure: Chronic hepatitis B and C can damage the liver and cause cirrhosis.
Treatment: Most who contract hepatitis B fully recover within a few months with rest, fluids, and healthy food, but there is no cure. In contrast, antiviral medication can cure more than 90 percent of those who contract hepatitis C. Any damage to the liver, however, is usually irreversible.
Herpes is caused by two different viruses: herpes simplex virus type-1 (which most frequently causes oral herpes) and herpes simplex virus type-2 (which most frequently causes genital herpes). Either virus type, though, can cause both oral and genital herpes. Both men and women risk contracting genital herpes when they have oral, vaginal or anal sex with an infected partner. Herpes can also be spread through intimate contact and kissing. The CDC estimates more than one out of six people aged 14-49 have genital herpes. Many don’t have symptoms, so they can easily spread this STD to their sexual partners.
Symptoms: When people do develop herpes symptoms, they usually note blisters and painful sores around their mouth and genitals. These sores may also develop in and around the anus.
Treatment: Currently there is no cure for herpes, but doctors can prescribe antiviral medication to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks and to reduce transmission of the virus to others.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is transmitted through anal, vaginal, and rarely oral sex. The virus damages T-cells, which are part of the immune system, so people who are infected may not be able to fight infection. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) refers to the end stage of the infection, when T cell counts are very low and when rare infections or cancers develop.
Symptoms: Those who contract HIV don’t typically have a lot of symptoms. At the time they are infected, they might experience flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue or fevers, or a rash. People typically have no symptoms for years, until AIDS develops, which takes an average of ten years in people who don’t receive treatment. AIDS symptoms can include rapid weight loss, rashes, fatigue, fevers, chills and night sweats.
Treatment: There is currently no cure for HIV, but antiretroviral treatment (ART) helps people with HIV/AIDs lead long, healthy lives, delaying or even preventing the onset of AIDS, while also reducing viral transmission to others.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection
The CDC reports that HPV is the most common STD in the United States. Sexually active men and women are at risk; HPV spreads through vaginal, anal, and oral sex and through intimate contact. In many cases, HPV will clear up and go away without intervention. Different HPV strains may cause genital warts or different types of cancer, though, in people who don’t clear the virus.
Symptoms: Most people who contract HPV don’t get symptoms, and there is no way to test for it. They might find out they have the STD if they get genital warts. For women, an abnormal Pap test might show that they are infected with HPV.
Treatment: There is no cure for HPV, but there is a vaccine that can prevent men and women from getting the virus. For people who do get infected, genital warts can be treated, as can pre-cancerous changes in women.
Syphilis is caused by a bacterium and is contracted through oral, vaginal or anal sex. Much like chlamydia, syphilis is easy to treat. However, if left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications.
Symptoms: Signs of syphilis vary greatly based on which of the STD’s four stages a person is in, and some people have no obvious symptoms. The first sign of syphilis is a painless sore, usually on or around the genitals. As syphilis progresses, people might experience rashes, fevers and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may resolve, and people may have no symptoms for years. Without treatment, though, syphilis can progress and impact the heart, brain and other organs, causing serious permanent damage or even death.
Treatment: Antibiotics will quickly cure syphilis, but they won’t undo any damage which has been done, making it extra important to get tested as soon as possible.
This common STD is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. It is usually spread through heterosexual intercourse, although any genital-genital contact can spread the disease. Trichomoniasis makes it easier for people to get infected with HIV or to pass HIV on to others.
Symptoms: Women are more likely than men to have symptoms, although most people with trichomoniasis have no symptoms. Both men and women may experience symptoms like those of chlamydia and other STDs, including burning with urination. Symptoms specific to women include vaginal discharge and pain with intercourse.
Treatment: Doctors treat trichomoniasis with antibiotics, usually metronidazole or tinidazole. It’s important that all sex partners receive treatment to avoid getting re-infected.
Most STDs don’t cause any symptoms or cause only mild symptoms, so you might not know you have one. Regular testing is important for the sexual health of you and your partners even if you don’t have symptoms, and is especially important when you suspect you might have an infection. If you want to be screened for STDs or think you’ve been exposed to one, Priority STD Testing facilitates accurate and discreet testing at a nearby lab. Contact us today for more information.