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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Health Topics

STDs

What Are STDs?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are very common. Millions of new infections occur every year in the United States.

STDs pass from one person to another through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. They also can spread through intimate physical contact like heavy petting, though this is not very common.


STD or STI? 

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is a virus, bacteria, fungus, or parasite people can get through sexual contact. Many STIs have no symptoms, so people can have an infection but not know it. A sexually transmitted disease (STD) develops because of an STI and the term implies that the infection has led to some symptom of disease. People sometimes use the terms in one another’s place. 


 

What happens if I don't treat an STD?

Some curable STDs can be dangerous if they aren’t treated. For example, if left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can make it difficult—or even impossible—for a woman to get pregnant. You also increase your chances of getting HIV if you have an untreated STD. Some STDs, like HIV, can be fatal if left untreated.

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