Did you know that many people with STDs do not show symptoms? MaineHealth can provide education, testing, and treatment options that best suit your needs.
If you think you are at risk of exposure to an STD, it is important to contact your doctor and get tested.
What are sexually transmitted diseases?
Sexually transmitted diseases and infections are actually the same thing.
Commonly called STDs or STIs, they are the infections you can get from sexual contact with an infected partner. There are more than 20 different STDs/STIs.
STDs can be transmitted from bacteria or viruses. They can also be passed on to a baby during childbirth or breastfeeding.
Examples of STDs include:
Who is at risk for STDs?
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting an STD. Using condoms can greatly decrease your risk. Young adults and adolescents make up half of those infected.
Those who are at greater risk for contracting STDs include:
People with multiple sexual partners
People who have had sexual contact with someone with an STD
People with a history of STDs
People who have sexual contact without a condom
Women with bacterial vaginosis
Men who have sex with other men
Injection drug users
People who have not been vaccinated
Not all STDs have the same symptoms
STD symptoms vary depending on the infection. Many infections go undetected, because the person has no symptoms. Infections without symptoms can still be spread.
Common STD symptoms may include:
Heavy or erratic periods in women
Vaginal itching, vaginal irritation, vaginal odor
Stay safe, get tested and speak with your partner
Vaccinations for HPV, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B are available. For more information about the vaccinations and testing, speak with your doctor. Timely diagnosis is critical to effective treatment. It is possible for expectant mothers to pass on an infection during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Pregnant women should be tested for STDs.
Viral STDs like herpes, HPV and HIV cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be treated. Bacterial STDs, such as chlamydia and syphilis, can be cured with antibiotics. These antibiotics are usually given by mouth, but can also be injected or applied directly to the infected area. STDs make you more susceptible to other infections. It is possible to treat two infections at once.
Continuing treatment is important, even after symptoms start to clear. The infection can still be passed to a partner regardless of symptoms. STDs can have serious consequences if left untreated. Speak with any sexual partners about possible infection risks.