Sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections can be contracted through sexual activity such as genital touching, oral sex or intercourse. Some can be cured and some cannot but any kind of infection or disease can cause lifelong health risks.
Many people have yet to be diagnosed and continue to have sex with partners, unaware they are spreading the infection or disease.
What are some common types of STDs and STIs?
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease. Any sexually active person can be infected with Chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. Because the cervix of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured, they are at particularly high risk for infection.
Gonorrhea symptoms are often mild in women, while many who are infected have no symptoms. Symptoms can often be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms; therefore, most infected people are unaware they have contracted the virus, yet they can transmit it to a sex partner.
Genital herpes infects 1 out of 5 Americans over the age of 12. It can cause recurring painful sores in the genital region, mouth or throat. There is currently no cure for herpes.
HIV (which leads to AIDS) still infects more than one million people in the United States. About 1 out of 4 infected people have yet to be diagnosed and are unaware of their disease.
Do you need to get tested? Take our quiz!
What's your sexual exposure? Click to check yourself.
Source: Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov)