Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is an STD?"
I don't understand
An STD is a sexually transmitted disease, or an infection that can be transmitted from one person to another through bodily fluids. There are many different kinds, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), HPV, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and others. Speak to your doctor right away if you are concerned that you may have an STD. Each of these is carried in the bodily fluids of an infected person, and through sharing these fluids as occurs with intercourse, another person can become infected. When this happens, the newly infected person will then usually be able to transmit, or share, the infection with someone else. Most of these conditions are spread in part because they do not cause immediate symptoms that are so obvious that they prevent further sexual intercourse. For this reason, some people can go for years before they have any symptoms. If that is the case, the smoldering infection can often cause serious long term side effects that affect life down the road, causing problems such as infertility or very poor ability to fight infection. For all of these reasons and more, it is important to practice safe sex habits. Speak with your doctor about things that you can do to be safe, such as using condoms during intercourse, or you can consider practicing abstinence.
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