An STD is the shortened version or the acronym for sexually transmitted disease and it is often also referred to as STI (sexually transmitted infection and VD (venereal disease). Regardless of which name one chooses to use, STDs are a group of diseases that are transmitted or communicated between individuals by a sexual contact of one sort or another (vaginal intercourse, oral sex or anal sex), by shared infected needles (such as those used for injecting prescribed or recreational drugs and IVs) and by sharing sex toys which were not adequately cleansed. Mothers who are infected can easily transmit STDs to their children through the process of childbirth and later also through the process of breastfeeding.
The Different Types of STDs
The range of STDs is wide and varied and it is often categorized by the microscopic organisms which are blamed for their onset:
The most common STDs which are caused by bacteria are vaginosis (BV), chncroid, donovanosis, gonorrhea, lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU), staphylococcal infection (MRSA) and syphilis.
STDs caused by viruses include adenoviruses, viral hepatitis (a.k.a. hepatitis B), herpes simplex, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS, HTLV 1 & 2, genital warts, cervical and anal cancers, mulloscum contagiosum virus (MCV), mononucleosis and Kposi’s sarcoma.
The most often occurring STDs which are caused by fungi are tinea cruris (jock itch) and the various female related yeast infections.
STDs caused by parasites include pubic lice and scabies.
Trichomoniasis is the only STD which is caused by protozoa and it is quite rare.
It is by far easier to try preventing STDs than it is to cure them. And the surest way to prevent them is by refraining from sexual contact of any kind or by always using male and/or female latex or polyurethane condoms.
Furthermore, all people (men and women, young and old) who are sexually active but most particularly those who are sexually active with multiple partners should submit to thorough medical examinations on a regular basis (at least once a year) whether they experience disturbing or unusual symptoms or not. As a matter of fact, STDs can just as easily spread when the infected individuals are asymptomatic — carrying the disease but not becoming ill from it.
Such examinations are pivotal keys for early detection of STDs so that treatments are easier and more effective, for the prevention of spreading STDs and thus possibly contributing to their epidemics or endemics, and for the imparting of more comprehensive education about such diseases by gleaning scientific facts which come directly from the most reliable sources — medical practitioners.
STDs are not new as they’ve been plaguing mankind since people have been engaging in sexual activities. However, there are many aspects about STDs which are quite new: (a) many more of them have been identified, isolated and named through the years; (b) their causes have been discovered and categorized; (c) a deeper understanding has been acquired about their transmission and thus also their prevention; (d) antibiotics which were developed brought with them the cure of many types of STDs although not yet all of them; and finally (e) vaccinations against a small number of STDs are already available and more studies are continually being conducted in an attempt to develop more.