Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), also referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STI) and venereal diseases (VD), are illnesses that have a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, anal sex and oral sex. Some STIs can also be contracted by using IV drug needles after their use by an infected person, as well as through any incident involving the contact of a wound with contaminated blood or through childbirth or breastfeeding.

Not all STIs are symptomatic, and symptoms may not appear immediately after infection. In some instances a disease can be carried with no symptoms, which leaves a greater risk of passing the disease on to others. There are currently new STD testing kits that you can order and take to a testing center so ease of testing is much easier these days. Bacterial STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. There are several viral STIs including herpes simplex, HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV). There are also parasite STIs, including the crab louse.

Safer sex is a method of decreasing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections during sexual activity. Prevention is key in addressing incurable STIs, such as HIV and herpes. The most effective way to prevent sexual transmission of STIs is to avoid contact of body parts or fluids which can lead to transfer with an infected partner. Not all sexual activities involve contact: cybersex, phonesex or masturbation from a distance are methods of avoiding contact. Proper use of condoms reduces contact and risk. Vaccines are available that protect against some viral STIs, such as Hepatitis B, and some types of HPV.

There are 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections every year in the United States, and, in 2005, the World Health Organization estimated that 448 million people aged 15-49 were being infected a year with curable STIs (such as syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia). Sexually transmitted infections have been well known for hundreds of years, and venereology is the branch of medicine that studies these diseases. While in the past, these illnesses have mostly been referred to as STDs or VD, the term sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is currently preferred, as it has a broader range of meaning; a person may be infected, and may potentially infect others, without having a disease.Read more ...

In the News ...

Chlamydia vaccine 'shows promise'   BBC - July 20, 2016
Canadian scientists have developed a promising vaccine prototype against chlamydia, a study in mice suggests. Research, published in the journal Vaccine, shows that mice given the immunization are more likely to fight off the infection. Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK and globally. There is currently no vaccine approved for human use. Experts say condoms are currently the best form of protection. A team of researchers gave mice two doses of the prototype vaccine, delivered through the nose. When the animals were later exposed to chlamydia, vaccinated mice had fewer copies of the bacteria replicating in their systems.

Syphilis widespread in Central Europe even before Columbus voyage to America   Ancient Origins - November 23, 2015
In 1495, a new disease spread throughout Europe: syphilis. Christopher Columbus was said to have brought this sexually transmitted disease back from his voyage to America. At least, that has been the accepted theory up until now. Using morphological and structural evidence, researchers from the Department of Forensic Medicine and the Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology (bone laboratory) at MedUni Vienna have now identified several cases of congenital syphilis dating back to as early as 1320 AD in skeletons from excavations at the cathedral square of St. Polten, Austria.

Everything You Need To Know About That So-Called 'New' STD   Huffington Post - November 18, 2015
Mycoplasma Genitalium
In men the bacteria can cause inflammation of the urethra (called urethritis) that leads to symptoms such as a burning pain while urinating or discharge from the penis. in women the bacteria has been linked to inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis), as well as pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the female reproductive organs that can lead to pain in the lower abdomen and pain or bleeding during sex, according to the CDC. In severe cases, pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to infertility.

Protect Your Teen from HPV, Prevent Deadly Cancers   Live Science - May 20, 2015
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is known to cause at least 26,000 cases of cancer every year in the United States - 18,000 cases in women and 8,000 in men, according to the CDC.

Radical vaccine design effective against herpes viruses   PhysOrg - March 7, 2015
Herpes simplex virus infections are an enormous global health problem and there is currently no viable vaccine. For nearly three decades, immunologists' efforts to develop a herpes vaccine have centered on exploiting a single protein found on the virus's outer surface that is known to elicit robust production of antibodies. Breaking from this approach, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have created a genetic mutant lacking that protein. The result is a powerfully effective vaccine against herpes viruses.

How STDs Influence Monogamy   Live Science - October 15, 2014
Being monogamous has its advantages: The couple has help rearing offspring and exclusive access to their mate's resources. Oddly enough, however, the practice may not be much help against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - evolutionarily speaking, anyway. According to a new mathematical study, the presence of sexually transmitted pathogens is often more likely to dissuade the evolution of monogamy than encourage it. Sure, individuals who go condom-free with a long-term partner are safer from diseases such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea than those who ditch the protection with a series of one-night stands. But over generations, STIs encourage monogamy only if they are moderately transmissible and fatal.

Most Oral HPV Infections Are in Men   Live Science - June 1, 2014
The majority of people who have infections of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) in their mouths are men, a new study suggests. The researchers looked at more than 9,000 U.S. men and women who tested positive for an oral HPV infection, and found that 78 percent of them were men. When the researchers looked at the types of HPV that are linked to cancer, they found that 82 percent of people who tested positive for this risky group of viruses were men, according to the study presented here today (June 1) at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

Alternative to Pap Test Is Approved by F.D.A.   New York Times - April 25, 2014
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the first alternative to the long-used Pap test as a primary screening method for cervical cancer, in the face of opposition from some womenÕs groups and health organizations. The new test, developed by Roche, detects the DNA of the human papilloma virus, which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, in a sample taken from the cervix. Pap testing involves examining the cervical sample under a microscope to detect abnormalities.

Worse than Sex Parasite: Sex Parasite with Virus   Live Science - November 8, 2012
A sexually transmitted parasite that's extraordinarily widespread gets even more dangerous when infected with a virus, researchers say. Scientists investigated the sexually transmitted disease trichomoniasis, which is caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, a type of microbe known as a protozoan. Rather than invade human cells, the parasite latches onto their surfaces and feeds on them. Trichomoniasis is more common than all bacterial sexually transmitted diseases combined, annually affecting nearly 250 million men and women worldwide. People infected with the parasite become especially vulnerable to other sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, which causes AIDS, and HPV, which is linked with cervical and prostate cancers. In addition, complications from trichomoniasis include miscarriage, preterm delivery, low birth weight and infertility.

Scientists discover first gonorrhea strain resistant to all available antibiotics   PhysOrg - July 11, 2011
An international research team has discovered a strain of gonorrhea resistant to all currently available antibiotics. This new strain is likely to transform a common and once easily treatable infection into a global threat to public health.