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 25 year-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 diseases?
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 non-sexually from mother to baby during pregnancy or childbirth, or through infection being spread by sharing contaminated needles or blood.
Organisms commonly found include:
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 diseases 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 Adolescent Medicine specialists 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: February 03, 2021 03:48 PM
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HIV is a virus that can destroy the body’s immune system. Over time and without treatment, the virus can cause AIDS, a life-threatening illness that occurs when the body’s immune system is greatly compromised.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted viral infection in the USA (yearly, half occur among adolescents/young adults); it is most frequently spread through unprotected sexual contact with an infected partner (though it can be spread at the time of infant delivery or by non-sexual skin-to-skin routes which is the frequent mode of spread in children).
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial disease that is most commonly passed through any form of sexual contact. A Chlamydia infection can be easily treated if detected.
Herpes is a disease that affects the skin i.e., mouth, lips and face or the genitals. The symptoms typically involve sores that appear on the body and develop into itchy and painful blisters.