Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) do not refer to any one disease but include more than 25 infectious organisms. STDs are caused by bacteria or viruses. STDs are spread from person to person by sexual intercourse, either anal, oral or vaginal. Some STDs, such as hepatitis B or HIV infection, are also transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, such as through the sharing of needles or equipment to inject drugs, body pierce or tattoo.

Many people are aware of the most prominent STD—HIV/AIDS. However, many other STDs affect millions of men and women each year. Many of these STDs initially cause no symptoms, especially in women. Symptoms, when they do develop, may be confused with those of other diseases that are not transmitted through sexual contact. STDs can still be transmitted person to person even if they do not show symptoms. Also, health problems caused by STDs tend to be more severe for women than for men.

There are many sexually transmitted diseases including:

  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Chancroid
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital Herpes/HSV
  • Genital Warts/HPV
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Viral Hepatitis

Common signs/symptoms of STDs

  • Itching around the vagina
  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain during urination
  • Sore throats in persons engaging in oral sex
  • Pain in the anus in persons engaging in anal sex
  • Painless red sores (chancres) on the genital area, tongue or throat
  • A scaly rash on the palms and soles of the feet
  • Small blisters that turn into scabs on the genital area
  • Swollen glands, fever and body aches
  • Unusual infections, unexplained fatigue, night sweats and weight loss
  • Soft, flesh-colored warts around the genital area

Helpful Resources

  • See our 2011 New London STD and Teen Birth report. For information on local HIV/STD testing please call Lawrence and Memorial Hospital at 860-442-0711.
  • For free, confidential HIV and Hep C testing, please contact the Alliance for Living at 860-447-0884 extension 232.
  • For more information on HIV/STDs please visit the CDC’s STD website or call the National Aids Hotline at 1-800-342-AIDS or the National STD Hotline at 1-800-227-8922.