Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)? STDs, also called sexually transmitted infections or STIs, are diseases that you get by having intimate sexual contact, that is having sex (vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse), with someone who already has the disease. Every year, STDs affect more than 13 million people.

What are the different types of STDs? Researchers have identified more than 20 different kinds of STDs, which can fall into two main groups:
STDs caused by bacteria – These diseases can be treated and often cured with antibiotics. Some bacterial STDs include: chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis. STDs caused by viruses – These diseases can be controlled, but not cured. If you get a viral STD, you will always have it. Some viral STDs include: HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, human papilloma virus (HPV), hepatitis B virus, and cytomegalovirus.
What are the symptoms of STDs? The symptoms vary among the different types of STDs. Some examples of common symptoms include:
Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina Sores or warts on the genital area Burning while urinating Itching and redness in the genital area Anal itching, soreness, or bleeding

If you are having any of these symptoms or think you might have an STD, talk to your health care provider.

How can STDs be prevented? The only way to ensure that you won’t get infected is to not have sex. This means avoiding all types of intimate sexual contact.

If you are sexually active, you can reduce your risk of getting STDs by practicing "safe sex." This means:

Using a condom for vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse—every time Knowing your partner and his/her STD status and health Having regular medical check-ups, especially if you have more than one sexual partner