Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs)
What is an STD?
A sexually transmitted disease (STD), or sexually transmitted infection (STI), is a pathogen most commonly spread during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. STDs are common—especially among young people—and include infections such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It is important to remember that anyone who is sexually active can get an STD and that some infections, such as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), are spread via skin-to-skin contact.
Can sexually transmitted infections be cured?
Bacterial infections, such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis can be cured via prescribed antibiotics. It is important that all infected or exposed sex partners are treated before resuming sexual relations. Otherwise, the cycle of infection will continue.
Viral infections, on the other hand, are treatable, though not curable. While there is vaccination available to prevent Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV)—and while the immune system can often remove these two infections on its own—there is currently no medial cure for HBV or HPV.
As for Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), these sexually transmitted infections are considered incurable (i.e., unable to be cured). It is important to know that antiviral and antiretroviral medication is available to treat people living with HSV or HIV, respectively.
Attention: Please consult a health care provider for more information on STD treatment.
How would I know if I have an STD?
Many STDs have no signs or symptoms—the only sure way to know if you have an STD is to get tested.
For a list of sites that provide STD testing and treatment services, see Bay Area STD Clinics.
STD Prevention: For information on how to prevent sexually transmitted infections, see How You Can Prevention Sexually Transmitted Diseases (CDC).