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Sexual Conditions Health Center

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Most Common STDs for Women and Men

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is another common bacterial STD. People often get it with chlamydia, and the symptoms are similar: unusual discharge from the vagina or penis, or pain or burning when you pee. Most men with gonorrhea get symptoms, but only about 20% of women do.

Gonorrhea is easily treated with antibiotics.

Syphilis

Syphilis is a tricky disease with four stages. In the primary stage, the main symptom is a sore. Sometimes syphilis is called the "great imitator" because the sore can look like a cut, an ingrown hair, or a harmless bump. The secondary stage starts with a rash on your body, followed by sores in your mouth, vagina, or anus.

Symptoms usually disappear in the third, or latent, stage. This stage can last for years or the rest of your life. Only about 15% of people with untreated syphilis will develop the final stage. In the late stage, it causes organ and nerve damage. It can also cause problems in your brain.

Your doctor can give you antibiotics to treat syphilis. The earlier treatment starts, the fewer antibiotics you'll need and the more quickly they work.

Herpes

Both strains of the herpes virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2, can cause genital herpes, but usually the culprit is HSV-2. The main symptom of herpes is painful blisters around the penis, vagina, or anus. But you might get blisters inside your vagina or anus where you can't see or feel them. Not everyone who has herpes gets blisters.  

Herpes is easy to catch. All it takes is skin-to-skin contact, including areas that a condom doesn't cover. You're most contagious when you have blisters, but you don't need them to pass the virus along.

Because herpes is a virus, you can't cure it. But you can take medication to manage it.

Trichomoniasis

More women than men get trichomoniasis, which is caused by a tiny parasite. Men and women can give it to each other through penis-vagina contact. Women can give it to each other when their genital areas touch. Only about 30% of people with trichomoniasis have symptoms including itching, burning, or sore genitals. You might also see a smelly, clear, white, yellowish, or greenish discharge.

Trichomoniasis is treated with antibiotics. It is important to be retested within three months of treatment, even if your partner has been treated as well.

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