Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are mainly transmitted through unprotected sexual contact. Some STIs can also be transmitted during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, and through infected blood or blood products. STIs have a profound impact on health, and are commonly referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These infections are generally acquired through sexual contact, and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
The consequences of STDs can be serious if left untreated. Without treatment, STDs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubal or ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer, and perinatal or congenital infections in babies born to infected mothers. STDs and HIV are related by biological interactions and because both infections occur in the same populations. Fortunately, getting tested for STDs is not a big deal, and most STDs are easy to treat.
There's nothing like enjoying sex without worrying about sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. Using condoms, talking openly with your partner, and getting tested regularly is the way to do this. When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, there's no single test you can take to check them all. But that doesn't mean getting tested is difficult. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) supports the development and licensing of vaccines, topical microbicides and pharmacological treatments for microbes that cause STDs.
Gardasil is an example of an exciting achievement in the field of STDs - a vaccine against the four most common strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). Tools for preventing STDs, such as vaccines, topical microbicides and behavioral interventions, are a vital part of protecting the public against infectious diseases. To develop these strategies, basic research is needed to understand the structure, function, growth, pathogenesis and evolution of bacterial, viral, parasitic, protozoal and fungal agents of STDs. Because many people in the early stages of an STD or STI don't have symptoms, screening for STIs is important to prevent complications. If you are diagnosed with a positive STD, know that all of them can be treated with medication and some are completely curable. For information on risk factors for STDs and current prevention and treatment strategies, visit the MedlinePlus site on sexually transmitted diseases.