Sexually Transmitted Diseases Health Center

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are passed from person to person through vaginal, oral or anal sexual contact. STDs can cause minor health problems as well as life-threatening disease, especially in women and infants. Some possible issues can include pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, cervical cancer and HIV infection.

There are over 20 different kinds of STDs that are caused either by bacteria or viruses. Those caused by bacteria often can be treated with prescribed antibiotics, although antibiotic resistance is making this more difficult. STDs caused by viruses may be treatable, but are usually incurable. Some incurable STDs include genital herpes, genital warts, HPV and HIV/AIDS.

The only way to ensure protection from STDs is to avoid any sexual contact. If you are sexually active, you can greatly reduce your risk for STDs by practicing safe sex during every sexual encounter. Safe sex means using a condom every time, knowing your own and your partner's STD status and having regular STD screenings.

Review Date: 
September 4, 2012
Last Updated:
November 8, 2013