Sexually Transmitted Infections - Diseases

Also known as: STDs, sexually transmitted infections, STIs, venereal disease, VD.

What are sexually transmitted infections?

Any infection that is passed from one person to another through sexual contact is known as a sexually transmitted disease. Infections are common, particularly in adolescents, with most infections occurring in the under 25yr. old age group (an STD in a prepubertal child should raise the possibility of sexual abuse). There are a large number of bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeast that cause STDs and the infections range from mild to serious and treatable to incurable.

What causes sexually transmitted Infections?

STD’s are generally acquired by sexual contact in some form, with the organism being transmitted from person to person by blood, semen or vaginal and other bodily fluids. Sometimes they can also be passed nonsexually from mother to baby during pregnancy or childbirth, or through infection being spread by sharing contaminated needles or blood. Organisms commonly found include; gonorrhea, chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, genital herpes, warts around the anus, trichomonas, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and bacterial vaginosis.

What are the symptoms of sexually transmitted infections?

Symptoms can range widely depending on which STD is present. STD’s may not cause any symptoms. Some cause itching and sores to develop on the genitals. Others cause pain while urinating or during sex. Some may cause other complications including cancer, compromised immunity and even death.

What are sexually transmitted infection care options?

The earlier the diagnosis of an STD the better the treatment result. Depending on the cause, treatments will vary. Nicklaus Children's Hospital’s Infectious Disease specialist will outline all treatment options and assist you/your child in the best approach to achieve the best results.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: December 18, 2020 05:03 PM

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