There are more than 25 diseases spread primarily by sexual activity. Together these infections — called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — have created a significant public health challenge in the United States. While many STDs are curable, others are not. Even those that are curable often have no symptoms and go unrecognized for long periods of time. If left untreated, even curable STDs can result in long-term health problems for both men and women.
In the United States, there are an estimated 19 million new STD cases each year.
- Half of these cases occur among young people ages 15–24.
- In addition, an estimated 65 million people live with an incurable STD.
- Still, less than half of adults ages 18–44 have ever been tested for an STD other than HIV/AIDS.
STDs are often divided into two categories—viral and bacterial— based on the type of microorganism that causes the specific disease. In general, bacterial infections can be cured with antibiotics and viral infections can be treated but not cured
This page focuses on eight of the most common STDs and contains information on how they are spread, how prevalent they are, what signs and symptoms individuals should look for, and what treatment options are available. Wherever possible it provides links to the original sources of data and information as well as additional websites that provide more information. This page also provides additional information on research focused on adolescents and STDs.
Note: Some professionals use the term sexually transmitted infection (STI) instead of sexually transmitted disease (STD).
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