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Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Symptoms, Complications, Treatment, Prevention

Sexually transmitted disease or STD is an infection passed from one person to another through sexual contact which can be oral, anal, vaginal or sometimes even through skin to skin contact. Sexually transmitted diseases can also spread through intravenous drugs which eventually can pass on to a new born child from a mother either during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Here is a guide to sexually transmitted diseases, which gives an insight to its symptoms, complications, treatment and prevention.

Sexually transmitted diseases are spread over by more than 30 viruses and parasites which survive and spread through sexual contacts. These are prevalent since hundreds of years and any person can commonly experience it. As per the report of the center of disease control prevention (CDC), almost 19 million new cases are seen every year all across the globe. It’s also an obvious fact that sexually transmitted diseases leave almost 24,000 women infertile every year.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Most of the sexually transmitted diseases or STD’s are without any symptoms in the initial stages. When symptoms like sores, painful urination, bumps, fever etc. crop up, they may involve other diseases which are often overlooked by people. Due to the lack of early symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases, proper diagnosis and treatment gets delayed.

However, in some cases, people commonly complain of discharge from sexual organs, which may be offensive. Other symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases can be itching and pain or abnormal discharge from the sexual organs. In some cases, eruptions or skin lesions may be present around the genital areas. Some people may also experience fever, gastric disturbances, increased susceptibility to infections, frequent illnesses, which can be the symptoms of sexually transmitted disease.

Some of the common sexually transmitted diseases include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, Human papillomavirus, syphilis and trichomoniasis.

Complications of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Majority of the people are unaware of this fact that major untreated sexually transmitted diseases often lead to long term serious diseases like infertility, genital tract infection, heart diseases, cancers, HIV and even death. For instance, untreated syphilis can damage all the internal organs and the entire neurological system. Similarly, untreated gonorrhea and syphilis after spreading throughout the body can cause infertility. Sexually transmitted diseases or STD too are dangerous for pregnant women and unborn babies.

So, if your sexual life is well active, the best option is to get tests done annually. If you have multiple sexual partners you should get the test done every six months. As not many symptoms are noted, regular check-up and healthy sexual preferences is an important way to protect yourself from the complications of sexually transmitted diseases.

Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A regular check-up can reveal many things. There are many types of sexually transmitted diseases or STD and most of them do not have early symptoms. At a sexually transmitted disease test center, you can get tested and be sure about any underlying health problem. Treatment of sexually transmitted diseases mainly depends on the type of the infection, the severity and stage at which it is diagnosed. The chronic ones can be treated with medications.

Here are some common medically treated sexually transmitted diseases which can be completely cured if one takes the medications properly.

  • Chlamydia- antibiotic treatment
  • Crabs and scabies- over the counter prescribed creams
  • Gonorrhea- antibiotics
  • Non- gonococcal urethritis(NGU)- antibiotics
  • Shigella- antibiotics
  • Syphilis- antibiotics
  • Trichomoniasis- antibiotics
  • Molluscum Contagiosum- various treatment option

Here are treatment options of some sexually transmitted diseases

Please note that these viruses can be treated but cannot be permanently cured.

  • Hepatitis A- rest, fluids and vaccination
  • Hepatitis B- antiviral medicines and vaccine
  • Hepatitis C- antiviral medicines
  • Herpes ( HSV)- anti- viral medications
  • HIV- anti- retroviral therapy
  • Human Papilloma virus- vaccine

Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Abstinence or no sexual contact is the only way to avoid and prevent sexually transmitted diseases. But if your sexual life is active, the best you can do is

  • Engage into sexual contact with someone who has been tested negatively for sexually transmitted diseases. It is better to avoid having multiple partners and ensure that your partner is free from any infections or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Use a latex condom or dental dam if you have vaginal, oral or anal sex. This reduces chances of infection. Practice healthy sexual preferences.

If You Have a Sexually Transmitted Disease

If you are tested positively for a sexually transmitted disease, keep in mind that you aren’t the only one who is suffering from this disease. There are many others too and you need to take appropriate treatment and prevent the spread of infection to others. Gather courage and tell your partner of being tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases so that he or she can also get tested and the treatment starts soon. The sooner the treatment starts, better and higher are the chances of improvement.

Also remember, that once tested positive for any sexually transmitted disease, you are no more immune and you can also be re-infected. Moreover, in sexually transmitted diseases you and your sexual partner should in no cases engage in any sexual activity until treatment is complete. It is absolutely necessary to follow medical advice as regards the course of treatment and sexual activity.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – STDs: https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm
  2. Mayo Clinic – Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/symptoms-causes/syc-20351240
  3. MedlinePlus – Sexually Transmitted Diseases: https://medlineplus.gov/sexuallytransmitteddiseases.html
  4. American Sexual Health Association – STDs/STIs: https://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stds/

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 18, 2023

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