Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Nearly everyone who is sexually active will have HPV at some point. It is estimated that there are 360,000 cases of genital warts and 10,000 cases of cervical cancer each year. Other common STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis, genital herpes, syphilis, mycoplasma genitalium (MG), trichomoniasis, and chancroid.
HPV is spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be spread through skin-to-skin contact. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause PID and infertility if left untreated. Latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting these diseases.
Syphilis is caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum and can cause serious health problems if left untreated. It is transmitted when you come into direct contact with syphilis sores, which are usually found on the outside or inside of the sexual organs. Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) begins to emerge as a major cause of cervical infections. Trichomoniasis usually has no symptoms in men but can be returned to you regardless of gender. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that congenital syphilis has increased while other STDs have declined due to reduced screening and people staying home for fear of contracting COVID-19. Common symptoms of STDs include burning when urinating, secretions from the head of the penis, and ulcers caused by chancroid which are usually larger than those caused by syphilis. It's important to know that many people with STDs have no symptoms.
Therefore, it's important to practice safe sex and get tested regularly for STDs. Using a condom reduces the risk of transmitting herpes but it doesn't eliminate it. Antiviral medicines can help treat symptoms of HPV and other STDs. Vaccines and prevention protocols may also help reduce the spread of STDs.