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Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), also referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STI) and venereal diseases (VD), are

illnesses that have a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex. While in the past, these illnesses have mostly been referred to as STDs or VD, in recent years the term sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has been preferred, as it has a broader range of meaning; a person may be infected, and may potentially infect others, without having a disease. Some STIs can also be transmitted via the use of IV drug needles after its use by an infected person, as well as through childbirth or breastfeeding. Sexually transmitted infections have been well known for hundreds of years, and venereology is the branch of medicine that studies these diseases.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, venereal diseases) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States today. STDs are sometimes referred to as sexually transmitted infections, since these conditions involve the transmission of an infectious organism between sex partners. More than 20 different STDs have been identified, and about 19 million men and women are infected each year in the United States, according to the CDC (2010). Depending on the disease, the infection can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus, or the mouth; an infection can also be spread through contact with blood during sexual activity. STDs are infrequently transmitted by any other type of contact (blood, body fluids or tissue removed from an STD infected person and placed in contact with an uninfected person); however, people that share unsterilized needles markedly increase the chance to pass many diseases, including STD's (especially hepatitis B), to others. Some diseases are not considered to be officially an STD (for example, hepatitis types A, C, E) but are infrequently noted to be transferred during sexual activity. Consequently, some authors include them as STD's, others do not. Consequently, lists of STD's can vary, depending on whether the STD is usually transmitted by sexual contact or only infrequently transmitted. STDs affect men and women of all ages and backgrounds, including children. Many states require that Child Protective Services be notified if children are diagnosed with an STD. STDs have become more common in recent years, partly because people are becoming sexually active at a younger age, are having multiple partners, and do not use preventive methods to lessen their chance of acquiring an STD. Seniors show a marked increase in STDs in the last few years as many do not use condoms. People can pass STDs to sexual partners even if they themselves do not have any symptoms. Frequently, STDs can be present but cause no symptoms, especially in women (for example, chlamydia, genital herpes or gonorrhea). This can also occur in some men. Health problems and long-term consequences from STDs tend to be more severe for women than for men. Some STDs can cause pelvic infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may cause a tubo-ovarianabscess. The abscess, in turn, may lead to scarring of the reproductive organs, which can result in an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside the uterus), infertility or even death for a woman. Human papillomavirus infection (HPV infection), an STD, is a known cause ofcancer of the cervix. Many STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby before, during, or immediately after birth. Because the method of becoming infected is similar with all STDs, a person often obtains more than one pathogenic organism at a time. For example, many people (about 50%) are infected at a single sexual contact with both gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Other STD Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms of STDs caused by protozoan Trichomonas Frothy vaginal discharge with a strong odor Treated with antibacterial/antiprotozoal medicines Symptoms of STDs* caused by fungi Jock itch (genital itching or Tenia cruris)* (not always an STD) Itchy groin skin, sometimes has a reddish color Is treated with topical antifungal medicines Yeast infection (Candidiasis)* (not always an STD) Cheese-like vaginal discharge or whitish exudates sometimes with a reddish hue to the skin; it may occur around the foreskin of infected males; common symptoms are itching and burning sensation of the vagina or penis. Is treated with topical antifungal medicines in most cases Symptoms of STDs caused by parasites Pubic lice Very tiny bugs that are found in pubic hair, sometimes referred to as "crabs" Can be picked up from clothing or bedding First noticed as itching in the pubic area Are treatable with creams, anti-lice agents, and combing Scabies Skin infestation caused by a tiny mite Highly contagious Intense itching is the primary symptom, which worsens at night Spread primarily by sexual contact or from contact with skin, infested sheets, towels, or furniture Is treated with creams