STDs or STIs (two acronyms that mean the same thing) can be transmitted via oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Some of the most common STDs include:
- Chlamydia: This is one of the most common STIs with 1.7 million new cases reported per year in the US. Chlamydia is also one of the most curable STDs that will infect the penis, vagina, cervix, urethra, anus, eye, and throat. Common symptoms associated with it include pain during sex and discharge. If untreated it can cause significant damage, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and chronic pelvic pain. It can be prevented through the use of latex condoms.
- Gonorrhea: The CDC reports an average of over 800,000 new cases per year of Gonorrhea in the US. This STD affects the cervix, urethra, throat, and rectum and can lead to burning during urination and discharge in men. Some people with gonorrhea have no symptoms, so it is vital to be regularly checked if at risk of exposure.
- Syphilis: On average there are over 100,000 cases of syphilis reported each year in the US. Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can lead to serious problems with the nervous system, heart, and other organs if left untreated. You can contract it through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
- Trichomoniasis: This is an easily curable STD and tends to affect women more than men. It is commonly mistaken for a yeast infection because of similar symptoms such as strong vaginal odor, pain during intercourse, itching, and irritation. Even though an average of 3.7 million people in the US have trichomoniasis, only around 30% report symptoms.
- Human Papillomavirus: Also known as HPV, this STD affects a large part of the population at some point in their lives, with over 79 million already infected in the US. It is a virus that spreads through oral, anal, or vaginal sex and often produces few to no symptoms. Some strains can lead to cervical cancer as well as genital warts. Vaccines are now available for the prevention of HPV.
The best prevention against STDs is safer sex practices and routine screening.