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Facts About STDs -

Common Questions About STDs


Updated April 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Have a question about sexually transmitted diseases? Answers to your STD symptom, STD testing, STD prevention, & STD treatment questions can be found here! Want to know more? Submit a question!

Other STD FAQs:

Questions About STD Symptoms

  • What are the Incubation Periods of Common STDs?
    You just had sex with a new partner, and now you're starting to itch. Are you just paranoid? Or could you have picked up an STD. Learn how quickly symptoms do, and don't, appear for some of the most common STDs.
  • Do I Have an STD?
    Learning the incubation periods, and symptoms, of STDs are all well and good, but how do you know if you have one? This is the most common question I'm asked on the forums. Learn why it's hard to give you an answer.
  • What is the Difference Between a Cold Sore, a Canker Sore, and a Chancre?
    A lot of people get confused about the difference between a cold sore and a canker sore, and don't know which are infectious and which are not. Still others hear "canker" and "chancre" and think they're the same thing! Here's a quick guide to the three types of sores.

Questions About STD Testing

  • What are the Current STD Screening Recommendations?
    When you go to the doctor for your annual exam, what STDs should you be screened for? It's helpful for you to know, because sometimes your doctor doesn't.
  • Why Do I Need a Pap Smear to Get Oral Contraceptive Pills?
    Some women get really annoyed when their doctor requires them to get a Pap Smear before they're allowed to pick up their pills, but there's a very good reason. Pap smears may be unpleasant, but getting them can save your life.
  • Should I Get a Pap Smear or an HPV Test?
    With all the news about HPV and cervical cancer, some women wonder why they still need to get Pap smears. Need some help understanding why your doctor is recommending a Pap smear, an HPV test, or both? Here's the scoop (the scrape?)!
  • What Does it Mean When My Test Results are Inconsistent?
    It can be hard to hear that you've tested positive for an STD, but it can be even harder to hear that your doctor isn't sure. Sometimes one test for an STD will come up positive and another will come up negative. Why does this happen, and how can you understand what the inconsistent test results mean?

STD Prevention

  • What is Asymptomatic Shedding?
    Often people think that if they don't show signs of being infected with herpes, or another STD, they can't transmit it to their partner. They're wrong.
  • Can Fingering Give me an STD? A lot of people want to know whether fingering can transmit disease. It's hard to give them a concrete answer.
  • Do You Practice What You Preach About Negotiating Safer Sex?
    People often ask me if I really do all the things I tell other people to do when I'm thinking about having sex with a new partner. The answer is yes, although I freely admit that it isn't always easy.
  • What is Contact Tracing?
    The nice thing about STDs is that you generally have a pretty good idea who you got them from and who you might have given them to. Contact tracing is a tool that allows doctors to try and stamp out STDs by investigating sexual networks.
  • What is a Microbicide?
    There aren't a lot of contraceptive options that also protect against STDs. Because of that, many researchers are focused on developing these novel types of contraceptive/sexual lubricant that can stop diseases before they start.
  • How Do STDs Increase HIV Risk?
    It's bad enough that you have a sexually transmitted disease, but did you know that most STDs also increase your risk of getting HIV? Learn how STD infections make it easier for HIV to get under your skin.

Teens & STDs

STDs in General

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