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Your Guide to Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases, commonly called STDs, are diseases that are spread by having sex with someone who has an STD. You can get a sexually transmitted disease from sexual activity that involves the mouth, anus, vagina, or penis.

According to the American Social Health Organization, one out of four teens in the United States becomes infected with an STD each year. By the age of 25, half of all sexually active young adults will get an STD.

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STDs are serious illnesses that require treatment. Some STDs, like HIV, cannot be cured and are deadly. By learning more, you can find out ways to protect yourself from the following STDs.

 

What Are the Symptoms of STDs?

Sometimes, there are no symptoms of STDs. If symptoms are present, they may include one or more of the following:

  • Bumps, sores, or warts near the mouth, anus, penis, or vagina.
  • Swelling or redness near the penis or vagina.
  • Skin rash.
  • Painful urination.
  • Weight loss, loose stools, night sweats.
  • Aches, pains, fever, and chills.
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice).
  • Discharge from the penis or vagina. Vaginal discharge may have an odor.
  • Bleeding from the vagina other than during a monthly period.
  • Painful sex.
  • Severe itching near the penis or vagina.

How Do I Know If I Have an STD?

Talk to your doctor. He or she can examine you and perform tests to determine if you have an STD. Treatment can:

  • Cure many STDs
  • Lessen the symptoms of STDs
  • Make it less likely that you will spread the disease
  • Help you to get healthy and stay healthy

How Are STDs Treated?

Many STDs are treated with antibiotics.

If you are given an antibiotic to treat an STD, it's important that you take all of the drug, even if the symptoms go away. Also, never take someone else's medicine to treat your illness. By doing so, you may make it more difficult to diagnose and treat the infection. Likewise, you should not share your medicine with others. Some doctors, however, may provide additional antibiotics to be given to your partner so that you can be treated at the same time.

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