Sexually transmitted diseases

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Sexually transmitted diseases (or STDs) are diseases that are commonly transmitted between partners through some form of sexual activity, most commonly sexual intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex. Note that all sexual behaviors that involve contact with another person or the body fluids of another person should be considered to contain some risk of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Most attention has focussed on controlling the HIV (AIDS) virus, but each STD presents a different situation. As may be noted from the name, sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted from one person to another as organisms or viruses (rather than being actually caused by specific sexual activities). It is not possible to catch any sexually transmitted disease from any sexual activity with a person who is not carrying a disease; conversely a person who has a sexually transmitted disease got it from contact (sexual or other close personal) with someone else who had it (or from contact with bodily fluid of someone who had it). Although the likelihood of transmitting various diseases by various sexual activities varies a great deal, in general, all sexual activities should be considered as being a two-way route for the transmission of STDs (i.e., "giving" or "receiving" are both risky). Health care professionals suggest that safer sex practices such as the use of condoms should always be used in sexual activities, but they should by no means be considered an absolute safeguard. The best suggestion is to avoid sexual activities with anyone known to have a sexually transmissable disease, and indeed anyone whose disease-negative status you aren't certain of. It is possible to have many of the types of sexually transmitted without having any symptoms. In particular, sexually transmitted diseases in women often cause the serious condition of pelvic inflammatory disease.

Types of sexually transmitted diseases and their causative organisms:

(Note that some of the diseases on this list are commonly transmitted in other ways besides sexually, e.g. AIDS is also commonly transmitted through the sharing of infected needles by drug users.)





=== Other === (not actually STDs but often considered as STDs)

See also Vulvovaginal disorders

External links:

Fact sheet on sexually transmitted diseases from the National Institute of Allergies and Infections

"Lesbian Health" from Planned Parenthood