A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is defined as a disease-causing virus, bacterium, parasite or fungus spread from person to person primarily through sexual contact. These agents thrive in most warm conditions in the body, such as the mouth and vagina. Some STDs can be transmitted in ways other than just sexual contact, for example through contact with infected blood. Sharing infected needles or receiving a transfusion of infected blood can also pass on the STD. Bacterial, fungal and parasitic STDs are curable with proper medication. Viral STDs have no cure at this time, but can be managed with proper medication.
It is important to recognize that women are more vulnerable to STDs from a biological and socioeconomic perspective. While the majority of STDs show little or no symptoms, the consequences of late diagnosis can be severe for women, and may result in cervical cancer, ectopic pregnancy and infertility to name a few.
Sexually active young adults and teenagers are the largest cohort diagnosed with STDs. An estimated 200 to 400 million people worldwide are affected of which 70 million can be found in the U.S.
Click on the links below for more information on sexually transmitted diseases:
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institutes of Health
31 Center Drive, MSC 2520
Bethesda, MD 20892-2520
- National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
- National STD and AIDS Hotline
1-800-227-8922 or 1-800-342-2437
(24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
- American Social Health Association P.O. Box 13827
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-9940