Common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)

STI Transmission Symptoms Potential Complications

Gonorrhea

One of the most commonly reported STDs in the U.S.

Damage caused by syphilis or gonorrhea can't be undone. And the symptoms may disappear while the disease is still present.

Most common with exposure through vaginal or anal sex.

Symptoms do not always occur. In women they can be mild if they occur.

  • Whitish discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Painful urination or frequent need to urinate
  • Abdominal pain or tenderness in women
  • Heavier menstrual flow, breakthrough bleeding
  • Sterility (inability to have children)
  • Infections that can damage joints, heart tissue, etc.

Chlamydia

One of the most common STDs in the U.S. today.

By contact with the vagina, mouth, eyes, urethra (the canal that carries the urine from the bladder and in the male also serves as a genital duct) or rectum.

  • Discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Painful urination or frequent need to urinate
  • Pain in the lower abdomen in women
  • Sterility in both men and women
  • Eye damage from infection or pneumonia in newborn babies
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women

HIV

One of the most common causes of death in the U.S.

  • Sex with an infected person
  • Injectable drug use
  • An infected mother to her baby during delivery and through breast milk

Recurrent fever, unexplained weight loss, swollen glands, fatigue diarrhea, appetite loss, white spots or unusual blemishes in the mouth.

  • No known cure - Can cause death
  • Susceptible to illness by harming the body's ability to fight infections

Syphilis

The most dangerous STD.

Damage caused by syphilis or gonorrhea can't be undone. And the symptoms may disappear while the disease is still present.

Through sexual contact. The germs that cause syphilis can also enter the body through broken or cut skin. Also, 50% risk of transmission from mother to infant in utero.

Occurs in three stages:

  1. Primary - painless ulcer; sore on or near the genitals or chancre
  2. Secondary - rash on the hands or feet or other parts of the body, enlargement of lymph node
  3. Late - no clinical signs, but vascular and neurological damage may be occurring, flu-like symptoms

Heart, brain or spinal cord damage, can cause paralysis or insanity, death, birth defects or death of newborns.

Herpes Type II

A disease with no known cure.

Touching an infected person's lesions can transmit cells containing the virus. This includes hand contact. Penetrative intercourse or even genital to genital touching is not necessary to transmit the disease. Recent reports suggest that transmission can occur in the absence of lesions.

Single or multiple vesicle (fluid-filled blisters) appear anywhere on genital skin. The rupture, leaves extremely painful, shallow ulcers. They heal in about 12 days. May have fever, flu-like symptoms, painful or frequent need to urinate.

Recurrent painful attacks, chronic pain, urethral strictures. If transmission occurs to an infant at delivery, severe neurological damage or death may occur. Risk of miscarriage or premature birth also increase. Occasional flare-ups, sometime related to stress or certain foods.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

The most common sexually transmitted infection. At least 50% of sexually active men and women will acquire HPV.

Direct skin to skin contact. Most commonly passed on during sexual contact. Recent reports suggest that transmission can occur in the absence of lesions.

Most HPV infections are symptomatic. Certain types of HPV cause genital warts.

Genital or throat warts, abnormal Pap test, cervical or penile cancer.

Genital Warts

A viral disease manifested by a variety of skin and mucous membrane lesions.

Touching an infected person's lesions including hand contact can transmit cells containing the virus. Penetrative intercourse or even genital/genital touching is not necessary for the virus to be transmitted.

Usually no symptoms. External warts may itch. Warts on the skin can be either raised from the skin or flat. Warts on the cervix can be seen only with the use of 5% acetic acid and magnification. The warts are pink or reddish in color with cauliflower-like tops.

Increased risk of cervical cancer in women. If left untreated, can cause cancer of cervix, anus, vagina, penis, mouth & throat.