A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is any infection or virus that is spread through sexual contact. An STD also causes symptoms, unlike a sexually transmitted infection (STI), which may not do so in its early stages. For this reason, STIs are especially concerning. When no symptoms are present, sexually active individuals often unknowingly transmit infections to others.
Abstinence is the only prevention that is 100% effective. Still, other measures can substantially reduce your risk are. These are:
The most common STDs in the United States are:
The U.S. Department of Health recommends that all sexually-active men and women be tested for STDs at least once each year. Those who are at increased risk for contracting an STD should be tested every 3-6 months. This includes individuals who have unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, or engage in other risky behaviors. Routine testing helps ensure that diseases are caught in their earliest, most treatable stage and that individuals are not unknowingly infecting others.
Many STDs can be remedied with oral antibiotics or medicated creams. However, certain STDs, such as HIV and genital warts, cannot be cured. Instead, symptoms are managed. Effective treatment of any STD requires an accurate diagnosis made through a physical examination and appropriate testing provided.
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