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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections caused by bacteria, parasites, yeast and viruses. Sometimes they are referred to as sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. Some STDs are very serious and need immediate medical attention.

STDs can affect both men and women, but the resulting health problems can be more severe for women. They are primarily passed through sexual contact. Some, including HPV and HIV/AIDS, can be transferred through contact with an infected person’s blood.

If you think you have an STD, it is important to see a healthcare provider for testing. Some of the most common STDs are:

  • Chlamydia
  • Genital herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • HIV/AIDS
  • HPV
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Hepatitis

Urinary tract infections (UTIs), including bladder infections, are not STDs. However, sexual activity raises your risk for UTIs. Make sure you ask a healthcare provider to be sure you have a UTI and not an STD.

What are the symptoms of STDs?

The symptoms of STDs can be subtle. You may not even realize you have one. Chlamydia symptoms are particularly difficult to detect. If left untreated, though, you can pass STDs to your sexual partners and increase your own risk of getting another. Untreated STDs can become life-threatening. If you are at risk for STDs, visit a healthcare provider for regular STD testing.

Symptoms of STDs may include:

  • Painful or burning urination
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Penile discharge
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Testicular pain or swelling
  • Mouth or genital sores (in the case of herpes)
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Itching or irritation of your genitals or anus
  • Flu-like symptoms

What are treatments for STDs?

If you think you might have an STD, get tested right away. If left untreated, STDs can have serious and sometimes life-threatening consequences. Antibiotics can treat STDs caused by bacteria, yeast and parasites. STDs caused by viruses do not have a cure, but symptoms can often be controlled with medicine.

HPV and hepatitis B can be prevented with vaccines. You can also lower your risk by reducing your number of sexual partners, abstaining or practicing mutual monogamy.

Seek medical attention if you think you may have an STD, even if you aren’t showing any symptoms. Visit your nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic for diagnosis and treatment. You can minimize your wait time with our Web Check-In®.