What are the Most Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are one of the least diagnosed group of diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is estimated that there are between eighteen and nineteen million new cases of STDs each year. About half of these new cases are among 15-24 year olds. The most common STDs are caused by either viruses, bacteria, or parasites, and as the name connotes, they are transmitted through sexual contact. Some diseases classified as sexually transmitted diseases may be passed through other forms of contact.
Most Common STDs
The term sexually transmitted infections (STI) can be used to refer to STDs because a person infected may not have any discomfort or disease, but may still have an infection. STDs caused by bacteria and parasites can be cured using medication. Viral sexually transmitted diseases cannot be cured, though symptoms of some viral STDs can often be managed with medication.
One of the most challenging aspects of STDs is the fact that a person can be infected and not have any symptoms. Because of the lack of symptoms for some STDs, an infected person may not know until she is informed by her partner that she may have been exposed to an STD. It is important to see a doctor if your current or a former partner has been diagnosed or was exposed to an STD.
Symptoms of STDs vary widely, but may include unusual bumps, itchiness, soreness, or unusual discharge from the genitals. As mentioned earlier, some STDs have no symptoms. Diagnosing and treating STDs early on is the best medical approach. Even though viral STDs cannot be cured, it is important to visit your doctor to understand ways to manage your symptoms and to prevent transmission to your partner. Women tend to have fewer symptoms and because of this, the impact of STDs on women can be more severe.
List of STDs
Screening for STDs
The lack of symptoms of some of the most common STDs in women brings up the question of whether or not we should get annual screening for chlamydia, gonorrhea and possibly syphilis. The Centers for Disease Control does recommend annual screening for the first two STDs for sexually active women under 26. In about 70 percent of chlamydia cases and 50 percent of gonorrhea cases, women experience no symptoms. If left untreated, these common STDs can lead to more serious health complications. There are about 24,000 cases of infertility a year attributed to untreated sexually transmitted diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Because the consequences of long-term untreated sexually transmitted diseases can severely impact young women, it is important that we continue to foster open dialogue with young women about prevention and treatment. Even if we are out of the 14-26 year old range, if we have new or multiple partners, it can be important to consider annual screening as part of our on-going health care approach.