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Sexually Transmitted Diseases


A sexually transmitted disease (STD), is also called a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An STD is an infection caused by bacteria or a virus. STDs are spread by oral, genital, or anal sex. Some examples of STDs are HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have genital swelling or pain, or unusual bleeding.
  • You have joint pain, rash, swollen lymph nodes, or night sweats.
  • You have severe abdominal pain.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your symptoms do not go away or they get worse, even after treatment.
  • You have bleeding or pain during sex.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines help treat the infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Prevent the spread of an STD:

Ask your healthcare provider for more information about the following safe sex practices:

  • Use condoms. Use a latex condom if you have oral, genital, or anal sex. Use a new condom each time. Use a polyurethane condom if you are allergic to latex.
  • Do not douche. Douching upsets the normal balance of bacteria are found in your vagina. It does not prevent or clear up vaginal infections.
  • Do not have sex with someone who has an STD. This includes oral and anal sex.
  • Limit sexual partners. Have sex with one person who is not having sex with anyone else.
  • Do not have sex during treatment. Do not have sex while you or your partners are being treated for an STD.
  • Get screening tests regularly if you are sexually active.
  • Get vaccinated. Vaccines may help to prevent your risk of some STDs. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about vaccines for STDs.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.