Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Most Popular Articles
You've just had unprotected sex with a new partner, and all of a sudden a strange mark has appeared in your pubic area. Although many sexually transmitted diseases can remain asymptomatic for years, it's good to have a few guidelines for when you're just being paranoid. If the sheets haven't even cooled down yet, that pimple is almost certainly not a new STD. Next time, practice safer sex. It will drastically reduce your stress levels.
There are lots of factors to think about when choosing a condom, and one of them is condom size. Although most condoms will fit most men, men who fall far to one end or the other of the penis size scale may have a harder time finding a condom brand in which they feel comfortable.
Images of the proper way to use a condom during and after sex.
It's all very well and good to say that oral sex is not safe sex, but how much of a risk are you actually taking if you choose to practice unprotected oral sex? What sexually transmitted diseases can be transferred from genitals to mouth and vice versa?
Probably about half of the e-mails I receive could be summed up as asking the following question: I had an unsafe sexual encounter, how long do I need to wait before I go for STD testing?
People often wonder how long it takes before they would test positive on a genital herpes blood test if they were infected with the virus. There's not a simple answer since every herpes test is a little bit different.
Genital warts are one of the many diseases caused by HPV. Although the best known HPV illness is cervical cancer, it can also cause sexually-transmitted throat cancers as well as penile cancer and other infections in both women and men
There are many conditions that can cause vaginal itching, some of which are sexually transmitted diseases and some of which are not. Although only a doctor can diagnose the cause of your vaginal itching, it can be helpful to recognize the diseases that most often cause an itchy vagina.
What is gonorrhea? This page will provide you with an introduction.
What are the most common STDs? How are they transmitted? What are their symptoms? Can they be treated, or are you stuck with them for good?
Herpes blood tests look for the body's reaction to a herpes infection rather than searching directly for the virus. To do this, they test for antibodies to herpes - either anti-herpes IgG or IgM.
Genital herpes is a frightening diagnosis for many people. Society may have exposed them to messages suggesting that people with herpes are dirty or somehow flawed. However, genital herpes is just a disease like any other--a disease, in fact, that affects approximately one in five Americans.
People often want to know if it's safe to masturbate when they're being treated for an STD. The answer is usually yes, but there are some caveats.
Genital herpes and oral herpes are only caused by two of the family of six herpes viruses that can infect humans. Herpes genital infections are often highly socially stigmatized despite the fact that many people are living with herpes
Many people don't understand the difference between HIV and AIDS. HIV is a virus; AIDS is a definition
What is trichomoniasis? How is trichomoniasis spread? How is trichomoniasis treated? Does trichomoniasis have any long term side-effects? What does the Trichomonas vaginalis protozoa look like?
Instructions for how to use a male condom.
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics.
Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics
Dental dams can be hard to find, not to mention expensive. You can, however, make your own dental dam with a condom and a pair of scissors!
Around the world, the incidence of HIV in men who have sex with men is higher than that of otherwise similar heterosexual men. The reason may not be what you think
Women: Do you want to try something different in bed? Interested in taking more control over your STD protection? Consider experimenting with the female condom.
Although many STDs have no symptoms, and thus the only way to be diagnosed with an STD is to visit your doctor for appropriate testing, people often question whether the lumps, bumps, and sores that appear on their body could be STD symptoms. These STD pictures are intended to help people satisfy their curiosity but are not a substitute for a doctor visit. Warning: Photos May Offend Some Viewers.
News reports are always suggesting that a herpes cure might be just beyond the horizon. However, although there is hope that researchers could develop a cure for herpes in the future, it probably won't happen in the next few years.
VDRL is a blood test that is used to determine whether or not you have an active syphilis infection.VD
In the bad old days, men who thought they might have chlamydia or gonorrhea were tested by swabbing their urethra and women had to undergo a pelvic exam. Fortunately, now the same diseases can be diagnosed through urine testing. Urine chlamydia tests and gonorrhea tests are a heck of a lot easier, even if in some places they're still difficult to find.
I receive a lot of angry e-mails asking me why doctors haven't made a cure for herpes or why there isn't an HIV vaccine when there is one for HPV. These e-mails often accuse me, and other scientists, of not trying or not caring, but the truth is that science just doesn't work that way.
When you want to have safe oral sex, whether it's with a man or with a woman, it's important to choose the right sort of condom to use. Condoms with n-9 are a bad idea, because they make your tongue go numb, but there are plenty of other options.
Worried you might have chlamydia? Know someone who was recently diagnosed? Find out more about chlamydia here.
Flavored condoms were developed to spice up your oral sex life, however you'll want to be sure that you're not using a novelty item.
Syphilis may start by causing a painless rash, but if left untreated it can go all the way to your brain. It is spread by direct contact with a syphilis sore, usually during oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
Urinary tract infections are associated with sex, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're sexually transmitted diseases.
These syphilis pictures show the chancre, or sore, typical of a primary syphilis infection. The sore, which is normally round and painless, will heal on its own after 3-6 weeks, but the underlying infection still needs to be treated. Warning: This photo may offend some viewers. Page 6.
Does having sex during a woman's period increase the risk of getting an STD? The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it's not quite so straightforward.
Do Pap smears test for STDs? The answer is not simply yes or no. Pap smears may involve an HPV test, but they are no substitute for regular std testing.
If you're dating, particularly casually, it's important to have sex safely. Practicing safe sex every time you have sex can help to protect you against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Safe sex is particularly important when you're having sexual intercourse, although you should also consider having safe oral sex.
Worried you might have chlamydia? Learn what to expect before you go to the doctor's office for diagnosis and treatment.
Although many people think that it's always the male sex partner who is reluctant to use a condom, that isn't actually the case. Often it's a woman saying that she doesn't like condoms or want to use them. Some women are just being stubborn, but others have had experiences that make them honestly believe that sex with condoms is bad for their health. Here's how to change their minds
Molluscum contagiosum can be sexually transmitted, although it is far more often seen in children.
The most common symptom of gonorrhea is urethral discharge.
Once a month or so, I receive an e-mail from a man who has visited a prostitute for a blow job and wants to know what the risks of oral sex are.
One of the factors that makes STDs so common is that most people with an STD don't even know that they are sick. It is not uncommon to be infected but have no STD symptoms, in other words people are asymptomatic. Therefore, people can be infected with an STD for many years without knowing. During that time, if they're not careful, they can pass their disease on to some or all of their sex partners. That's why some scientists call STDs The Hidden Epidemic.
You know you want to have sex, but what's the best way to do so as safely as possible? How can you reduce the risk of contracting an STD? Here Are The Top 10 Ways to Avoid Contracting an STD If You Have Already Decided To Have Sex
Chancroid is a genital ulcer disease found mostly in the developing world.
The itchy rash seen in these scabies pictures get worse at night. Warning: This photo may offend some viewers. Page 8.
Although usually the problem is that people don't get STD testing often enough, sometimes the issue is that doctors won't provide STD tests - even when asked. Here are a few reasons why your doctor may refuse to give you a herpes test or other STD test, and how you may be able to convince them.
Bacterial vaginosis is a sexually associated condition. When a woman has BV her normal vaginal flora is replaced by a hostile mix of bacteria. This leaves her more susceptible to infection and other negative reproductive issues.
Even if you don't ever have herpes outbreaks, there may be some benefit to using daily suppressive therapy. This is because even people who have never had an outbreak can transmit the virus to their partner.
Scabies is a contagious skin rash that is not always sexually transmitted.
STD testing is the only way to be certain whether or not you have an STD. Fortunately, they're generally easy and painless. You may even be able to find STD tests for free!
When people try to learn about sex by emulating the sex in porn, they can pick up some pretty unsafe techniques. Although there is certainly some porn that shows hot and healthy habits, there are also a lot of ways that people have sex in porn that can cause some real health problems.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the virus that causes genital warts, as well as several reproductive and systemic cancers. The discovery that HPV caused infectious cancers was stunning. Even 30 years ago, if you had told doctors that a virus could cause cancer, most of them would have laughed you out of the room.
Vaginal yeast infections and oral thrush infections are both caused by Candida albicans. Does that mean they can be transmitted by oral sex?
Have trouble convincing your partner to use a condom? Try putting it on with your mouth. Condoms make oral sex safer, but using oral sex to put on a condom is also a great way to convince a reluctant partner that safe sex is a good idea. Here are some tips for how to apply a condom in a way that any man will find stimulating.
How can you find your local free STD clinic? It's not difficult. If you follow a few easy steps, you can usually find a free STD clinic that is convenient to your home or work.
The chancres, or sores, caused by syphilis have a very recognizable appearance. However, despite that, many people do not notice they are infected.
You can not entirely prevent herpes transmission by using a condom, but you can reduce it. Unlike many other sexually transmitted diseases, herpes spreads by skin-to-skin contact instead of through bodily fluids. Since condoms don't cover all potentially infectious skin, they can not completely stop herpes spread.
The word cisgendered is used to distinguish people who are not transgendered from those who are.
Syphilis is treated with specific types of penicillin, but oral penicillin should not be used in treatment.
What social and biological factors put a person at increased risk of acquiring an STD?
What are the symptoms of STDs? They're pretty varied. Some STDs cause itching and burning, others cause sores, while still others don't cause any symptoms at all.
Chancroid is a bacterial STD rarely seen in the U.S. These chancroid pictures show some of its early symptoms. Page 10.
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If you are getting treated for trichomoniasis and your doctor tells you to wait a week before having sex, listen to them. They're not just asking because they want you to suffer.
Telling your partner that you get cold sores is the right thing to do. Learn more about the relationship between cold sores, oral sex, and genital herpes.
How can you decide whether to visit your doctor of the STD free clinic for std testing and treatment? What are the advantages of each?
Many people are surprised to learn that it is possible to end up with a genital herpes infection if your partner has cold sores. It's easy to forget that cold sores are also caused by a herpes virus, and one that isn't that different from the one that causes genital herpes.
As seen in these Molloscum Contagiosum pictures, Molluscum Contagiosum causes a benign skin rash that is extremely contagious. Page 9.
Some people think that a positive herpes IgM test means that they were recently infected with herpes, but is that true?
Hearing from your doctor that you have a herpes genital infection can be extremely stressful. It's not uncommon for people to get a herpes diagnosis and panic that they will never be able to date or have sex again. Fortunately, that isn't true. Herpes doesn't have to be the end of your sex life. You may end up changing the way you talk and think about sex, but just because you have a herpes genital infection doesn't mean you need to give it up.
Although many cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in men have no symptoms, sometimes they present with penis discharge. Until the cause of the discharge is determined, it is called non-specific urethritis. Page 4.
When you have genital herpes, it can be very difficult to bring up your condition with a new romantic partner. Although herpes is just a virus, it's extremely socially stigmatized, and many people are afraid that they may be rejected because of their condition. Although it is true that some people will be unable to see past a genital herpes diagnosis, many people who are living with herpes have found love. You can too.
It is normal for women to have some amount of vaginal discharge and for the amount and thickness of the vaginal discharge to change throughout a woman's menstrual cycle. However a change in vaginal discharge odor, or vaginal discharge accompanied by itching, may be a sign that it's time to go to the gynecologist.
People suffer from a myriad of different sores on their mouths and their genitals, but there are three types of sores that by virtue of their names and locations are frequently confused. These are canker sores, the cold sores caused by oral herpes, and the chancre sores caused by syphilis.
I frequently get e-mails asking questions about whether a treated STD can come back after the treatment is done. The answer is a qualified yes.
What STDs should you be tested for and how often? To some extent it depends on your individual risk factors, but some general guidelines are below.
Learning you have genital herpes can be devastating, particularly when your love life is in flux. When someone is first diagnosed, the thought of dating with herpes can fill them with such anxiety that they may wonder if they will ever find love again. Fortunately, it turns out that most of the time dating with herpes isn't nearly as scary as thinking about it.
What happens if a chlamydia infection goes untreated? What are the long term side effects? It can affect your health, your fertility, and the health of your future children.
People often want to know if they can get an STD blood test and avoid the scary swabs...
It's always stressful to find out you have a sexually transmitted disease, but finding out that you have an STD when you're married or in a long term committed relationship can be particularly devastating. Not only do you have to deal with the diagnosis, you have to face the reality that your partner could be having an affair and deal with the consequences of infidelity. Except for the fact that, sometimes, a cheating spouse isn't the issue at all.
No diagnostic test is perfect. Although most modern STD tests are very good, no test is going to be 100% accurate 100% of the time. So what do you do if you get two different results of your STD tests?
I get a lot of e-mails from people who are worried that they might have an STD. These are some of the most common questions they ask.
Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are usually round white sores with a red border. They generally heal within 1-3 weeks. They are not STD symptoms. Page 13.
A genital herpes outbreak. Warning: This photo may offend some viewers. Page 2.
Many people assume that STD testing is part of their regular health care. Unfortunately, it's not. If you want to be screened for STDs, you have to ask for it. This guide can help you do just that.
: A squamous cell is a type of epithelial cell that is found in many locations of the body. Although
Bacterial vaginosis isn't caused by sperm, but it's easy to understand why some women think it could be. BV symptoms get worse after unprotected sex... here's why.
These pubic lice pictures show the skin response to a pubic lice infection. Remember, STD pictures are no substitute for seeing a physician. Page 7.
Before you start having sex with a new partner, there are some questions you should ask to keep yourself safe. Have you each been tested for STDs? Do you have the supplies you need to practice safer sex?
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Testing procedures for chlamydia trachomatis
Many cervical STDs have no symptoms, and thus the only way to be diagnosed with an STD is to visit your doctor for appropriate testing. This is a picture of what your doctor may see when you have a cervical infection. Warning: Photos May Offend Some Viewers. Page 5.
The justifications people come up with for not practicing safer sex continue to amaze. Learn about the top 10 misconceptions people have about why they don't need to practice safer sex, and the facts that disprove them.
Chancroid is a bacterial STD rarely seen in the U.S. These chancroid pictures show some of its late symptoms. Page 11.
Ask any woman who has ever had a yeast infection and she'll agree that yeast infections are the scourge of womankind. They not only cause horrible itching and make sex painful, yeast infections have the same annoying habit as certain visiting relatives... first they refuse to go away and then they keep coming back. Many women suffer from frequent, recurring yeast infections, and most of them have absolutely no idea why.
Although frottage is a relatively safe form of sex, when you are dry humping it is possible to get an STD from someone's infected skin rubbing on yours.
There is almost no published research addressing the question of whether fingering (digital-vaginal penetration, manual penetration, heavy petting, whatever you want to call it) is a risk factor for STD transmission, but logic says it should be.
It is possible to get tested for herpes. However, the method of testing depends on whether or not you are currently having an outbreak.
Worldwide, trachoma is a leading cause of blindness. These trachoma pictures show the damage a chlamydia infection of the eye can do. Page 12.
A lot of people want to know if a blood test for herpes exists and, if so, why their doctor hasn't offered herpes blood testing to them.
The herpes virus that causes cold sores may prefer to live near your mouth, but that doesn't mean it can't spread to your genitals.
Hepatitis B is one of five types of hepatitis that can infect humans. All of the hepatitis viruses affect the liver, but they have different modes of transmission and cause different levels of damage. Hepatitis B can be sexually transmitted.
Getting a herpes test can be scary, particularly when you don't know what the results mean. Although how good a test is depends a lot on how it's being used, here's a rough estimate of herpes blood test accuracy.
Cold sores, or fever blisters, are caused by a herpes virus. These small painful blisters are most often found around the lips, and usually break open, crust over, and heal over the period of a week to 10 days.
A Western blot is often used as part of an HIV testing protocol, generally to confirm the results of other HIV tests.
Women who have sex with women don't need to worry about getting pregnant, so they frequently also fail to think about safer sex. This is unfortunate, since there are several STDs that can be passed from woman to woman. The situation is additionally complicated because lesbians tend to have lower health care utilization, and may not be screened for problems as often as their heterosexual counterparts.
HIV is a virus, but AIDS is a definition. HIV-positive individuals can stay healthy for years, or even decades, before they become sick enough to receive an AIDS diagnosis. Learn about HIV/AIDS here.
Jaundice is a complication of liver damage caused by hepatitis. Page 14.
How do you make sex safer? This article describes ways you can practice safe sex to protect yourself during some common sexual activities.
A lot of people believe that you can't give someone genital herpes if you don't have herpes symptoms. However, that's simply a dangerous sex myth.
Most STDs, are reportable diseases so the truth is that no matter where you choose to go to get tested for STDs, your STDs will probably be reported to the government. It doesn't matter whether you get tested at free STD testing clinics or at your doctor's office. If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, hepatitis, chancroid, or syphilis, your doctor is supposed to tell the CDC.
Most sexually transmitted infections spread either by exposure to infected fluids or by direct contact with infected skin.
So you know you need to get an STD test done... where can you go to find one? What if your doctor is poorly informed about STD testing? How can you locate an STD clinic?
Most people with chlamydia have no symptoms at all.
A retrovirus is a virus whose genes are encoded in RNA instead of DNA. Learn more about how a retrovirus works.
Spermicidal condoms may not be as good an idea as they sound like they are. The spermicide on condoms may cause more trouble than it's worth.
There are many reasons your partner may not have told you that she or he had an STD. Some of them are better than others.
Some people think that if they still have their virginity that they can't have an STD. However, the way that most people define virginity doesn't mean that they haven't had sex.
When you put a condom on a man's penis, it's important to leave room at the tip. It is also essential, however, to make sure there is no air trapped in the tip of the condom that could make it more likely to break. Page 6.
Worried you might have a sexually transmitted disease, but don't know where to get STD treatment? It's probably easiest to go to your own doctor, but if you don't have insurance, or are uncomfortable seeing your regular practitioner, there are certainly other affordable options you can explore.
When a person's vaginal odor changes, it may be the sign of an infection. Several sexually transmitted infections, and sexually associated infections, can affect vaginal odor.
Neonatal herpes can have severe, or even fatal, consequences, which is why doctors generally recommend c-sections for pregnant women with active herpes outbreaks near the time of delivery. However, some women with genital herpes worry about whether asymptomatic viral shedding means there is always a risk with vaginal delivery.
Numerous STDs increase the risk of becoming infected with HIV. How do STDs increase the risk of HIV? Does treating STDs reduce the risk of becoming HIV positive?
Some people think that if they have sex with a virgin that they can't get an STD and the virgin can't get pregnant. Just because a person is a virgin, however, doesn't mean that they haven't been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, and vaginal intercourse can make anyone pregnant.
Asking to get tested for STDs isn't enough. If you want to be confident of your STD testing results, you need to tell your doctor exactly what it is that you do and don't want to be tested for. One of the biggest misconceptions about STD testing is that there's a single test for all STDs.
Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, can be a long-term consequence of several STDs. Not only can PID cause intense discomfort, worldwide it is a leading cause of preventable infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
People often ask me what it feels like to have an STD. Although this question usually comes from someone who has symptoms, the answer isn't as simple as they suspect.
Some couples consider it a sign of relationship closeness to stop practicing safer sex. This is occasionally referred to as fluid bonding or being fluid bonded.
Lubricated condoms are great, but they rarely have enough lubricant that you won't also need to provide your own
A systemic infection is very different from a local infection
A lot of people get confused when they learn that chicken pox is caused by a herpes virus, but there are more herpes viruses than just the ones that cause sexually transmitted diseases. In this case, chicken pox is a form of herpes zoster.
To open a condom package you want to tear carefully along the edge. Don't use fingernails or scissors, since you want to avoid tearing the condom along with the package. Page 3.
There are a lot of anal sex risks, particularly if you're not practicing anal safe sex. Numerous STDs are easily spread by anal sex, and if you have an anal std it may not be detected by regular STD testing. That's why it's important to tell your doctor if you're having anal sex so that she can test you accordingly.
Research has shown time and time again that abstinence-only education doesn't work. Here are my top 10 reasons you should support comprehensive sex education in schools.
Cold sores are herpes too, so why is it that they are so much less stigmatized than genital herpes? Understand the differences, and similarities, between the two conditions.
Now that there is more than one HPV jab on the market, how do you choose the HPV vaccine that is right for you? Here are some facts to consider when choosing between Gardasil or Cervarix.
Do I have an STD? How do you know if you have a sexually transmitted disease? How can you be certain that you don't?
Resolve Herpes advertises itself as a surefire cure for genital herpes, but there is no data to support its claim. Currently there is no herpes cure available. Resolve Herpes is just another snake oil product looking for your money and preying on your hope.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) doesn't only affect women. HPV in men is a problem as well, with the potential to cause throat and anal cancer as well as genital warts...
Mycoplasma genitalium is a common sexually transmitted disease with many of the same symptoms as gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Many people think that their doctor routinely checks them for stds as part of their annual exam. They're probably wrong.
Although lubricated, latex condoms are relatively all purpose standbys, they may not be the best condom for all occasions.
Antibiotic resistant gonorrhea is on the rise. As strains become more and more resistant to treatment, there is a growing concern that one day soon we may have gonorrhea that can't be treated with antibiotics at all.
The health belief model is a tool that scientists use to understand people's health behaviors.
Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium that sometimes acts more like a virus. This type of microorganism is also known as an obligate intracellular parasite
How does a doctor test for syphilis?
Scientists think that transmission by oral sex is one of the reasons that syphilis is on the rise again after years of decline. Practicing safe oral sex can help to reduce the spread of syphilis.
The most common symptom of a staph infection of the skin is simply a pimple, but staph can also cause more serious infections such as pneumonia.
It is important to check the expiration date on the condom package before opening it. Do not use condoms that have expired.
Unroll the condom to cover the full shaft of the penis. This will also reduce the risk of transmission of any STDs that are transferred from skin to skin - such as syphilis. Page 7.