Sexually transmitted disease
|Part of the series on|
|A baker's dozen on sex|
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (or "Sexually transmitted Infections" for the politically correct) comprise a large and diverse set of disease entities which include viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and arthropods. Many of these diseases can cause great harm or become widely spread before the symptoms of the disease are even detected.
STDs have been an excuse for moral panics over the years, often cited as a reason to clean up a purported epidemic of prostitution or porn shops, and the subject of social guidance films teaching abstinence. The same people often oppose teaching the use of condoms -- even though condoms substantially reduce the risk of spreading these diseases.
An earlier term, "veneral disease", began to fall out of favor after the rise of herpes and AIDS in the early 1980s, in part because of the association of VD with being "no big deal, just get a penicillin shot".
Looking at porn carries no risk of infection, even if you wank to it.
 List of STDs and their signs and symptoms
This list is not complete, and many of these disease agents can be transmitted by non-sexual means. Because there are so many different infections, symptoms can vary greatly. Your doctor can give you a great deal of information and should be consulted early to prevent permanent health problems.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
In the early stages, HIV can cause fevers, rashes, joint pains, and other non-specific symptoms. These usually occur within weeks after exposure. If untreated, HIV infection usually leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) within eight to ten years. The symptoms of AIDS can be anything, but common presentations include weight loss, night sweats, unusual skin lesions, and diarrhea.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV 1 and 2)
HSV can appear on either the lips or the genitalia. It usually presents as a painful, bumpy rash, sometimes with fever.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
HPV often presents as anogenital warts, or as an abnormality on a pap smear. These lesions can be pre-cancerous.
Hepatitis B and C Viruses (HBV, HCV)
These are often asymptomatic, but over time can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. If any symptoms are present, the illness can look like any hepatitis, that is, jaundice, change in urine or stool color, abdominal swelling, and fatigue.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea, "the clap")
In males, this presents as a foul penile discharge. Women may have a vaginal discharge, or no symptoms at all.
Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia)
This presents similarly to gonorrhea, but is often asymptomatic, and is commonly without the patient knowing they are ill. There are three different sub-types of the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis that cause Lymphogranuloma Venereum. Lymphogranuloma venereum is one of the maladies associated with gay bowel syndrome.
Treponema pallidum (syphillis)
This organism causes syphilis, a multisystem disease. It responds well to antibiotics, but if left untreated, its late stages can cause dementia and death.
Trichamonas vaginalis ("trich")
In females, this usually presents as a foul vaginal discharge, but males are usually asymptomatic. Even though males are asymptomatic, partners of infected females must be treated.
Pubic lice ("crabs")
This presents as itching in the groin, and often small parasites are easily visible.
This often presents as itching, with rash being more prominent between the fingers and toes.
Latex condoms provide protection against many STDs (including HIV), but not all (such as
public pubic lice), they are ineffective when not properly used or in the case of rupture.
Vaccines are not widely available for STDs. An HPV vaccine has recently been released for protection against certain, but not all, strains of HPV.
For the idiots out there, people who have been sexually active before marriage can transmit their sexual diseases to their partner after marriage, therefore failure to use proper protection with a spouse can still lead to infection.
Periodic testing is recommended for those who indulge in promiscuity, so they will be aware (painfully aware) of any treatment they should obtain, past lovers they should make embarrassing calls to, and even more embarrassing disclosures they must make to future lovers (If you're very lucky, a clinic or therapist may do the calling for you to preserve anonymity).
Some STDs are curable; many are not. For further information, please consult a physician.