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What Are STDs?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are also known as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs.) STDs are typically transmitted via sexual contact or via shared IV drug needles. Although quite uncommon, an STD could potentially be passed from mother to child during birth or via breastfeeding.
What STDs Are Seen Most Today?
The STDs that are seen most often today include: herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis C, and HIV. Although it's not necessarily common, it's possible for a person to have multiple STDs at once. To make sure that all STDs are identified and treated, STD testing usually includes a panel of 10 common STDs.
The signs of an STD depend on the particular disease and the specific person. Certain STDs, most notably Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea, may not cause any dramatic symptoms in their early stages. Diseases like HIV and syphilis are more likely to cause obvious symptoms. If people notice pain while urinating, pain during sex, an increase in between-period bleeding, abdominal pain, and pelvic pain, they should be tested for STDs and should typically have a pelvic exam to determine the exact cause of the symptoms. Symptoms should never be ignored, and it's important that people don't assume problems will go away on their own. Maintaining good reproductive health depends on prompt attention to any symptoms that occur.
If a person is sexually active, they need to have STD testing regularly. Even with safe sex practices, it's sometimes possible to contract an STD so it's important that people are aware of STDs as soon as possible. Many people have STD tests during yearly check-ups, for example at a well woman exam. The doctor will help each patient determine which STD testing schedule works best for their situation.