What are the most common STIs?

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Genital herpes, also called “herpes simplex virus” or “HSV”
  • Genital warts, also called “human papillomavirus” or “HPV” – Some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer in women
  • Hepatitis B
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Human immunodeficiency virus, also called “HIV” – This is the virus that causes AIDS.

What is the difference between an STI and an STD?

The term STI, which stands for sexually transmitted infections and STD, which stands for sexually transmitted diseases are used interchangeably. Some STIs are caused by viruses and others are caused by bacteria.

How can I tell if I have an STD?

STDs often cause few symptoms in their early stages, which is one reason why it’s important to have STD testing on a routine basis. As the disease progresses, it can cause an array of symptoms like:

  • pain when urinating
  • difficulty emptying the bladder
  • lumps, ulcers, swelling or redness around the anus, mouth, or genitals
  • vaginal discharge
  • intense itching or burning sensations around the genitals or anus

As the disease progresses without treatment, flu-like symptoms including fever can occur along with pain in the lower abdomen.

Do I need to be tested for STDs?

Many people think only those who participate in the riskiest sexual behaviors need STD testing, but in fact, the U.S. Department of Health says all sexually-active men and women should be tested for STDs at least once each year. People who have unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, or engage in other risky behaviors should be tested every three to six months.

Regular testing helps ensure diseases are caught as early as possible so they can be promptly treated. Testing on a regular basis also helps to prevent transmitting the disease to another person. Women who are pregnant should also be tested for STDs, which could have an impact on their health or the health of the baby either while it’s in the uterus or during the birth process.

What happens during STD testing?

Several tests are available depending on the symptoms and the results of the physical examination. Pelvic exams, blood tests, urine tests, and other tests may be performed to confirm the presence of an STD and to help guide treatment.

How are STDs treated?

Many STDs can be treated with oral antibiotics or medicated creams. However, there are some STDs that cannot be cured but instead must be managed, like genital warts and HIV. Treatment of any STD requires an in-depth examination and accurate testing to ensure the most appropriate care is provided.