Sexually transmitted diseases, commonly called STDs, are diseases that are spread by having sex with someone who has an STD. You can get a sexually transmitted disease from sexual activity that involves the mouth, anus, vagina, or penis.  One in four teens in the United States gets an STD every year, according to the American Social Health Organization.  Half of all young adults will get an STD by age 25. 

These are serious ailments that require treatment, and some, like HIV, are incurable.  You can contact Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Genital Herpes, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, and Gonorrhea, for a small list of STDs.

Do STDs Have Symptoms?

One of the most common symptoms of STDs are bumps, warts, or sores around vagina, penis, mouth, or anus.  You have to be even more careful if these are cracked or weeping.  There could be redness or irritation around the penis or vagina.  

Skin rash is common with some, like syphilis.  The rash can also be confused with other STDs.  Painful urination is a telltale symptom.  Flulike symptoms include muscle aches, body pains, chills, fever, weight loss, night sweats, and loose stools.  Changes in liver function might occur as yellowing of the skin, or jaundice.  An STD could cause discharge from either the penis or the vagina, and vaginal discharge may have a fishy odor.  There might be severe itching near the vagina or penis.  Sex could be painful.  A woman may find vaginal bleeding on a day that's not her period.  Finally, STDs can cause severe itching around the vagina or penis.

How Do You Find STDs?

You have to go to your doctor.  Get a pelvic or a penile examination, as well as blood tests.  With treatment, you can cure many STDs, or reduce the symptoms them.  You will also make it less likely for you to spread the disease, and you can get on the road to being healthy again.  

Treatment of STDs

Antibiotics are given to treat many STDs, like penicillin.  You have to remember to keep taking the drug, even if all the symptoms go away.  You never want to take a friend's or a partner's drug either, so you're getting the treatment that you need.  Your doctor might give extra antibiotics so you and your partner can have treatment at the same time.

Protecting Yourself

You might want to consider abstinence because not having sex is the simplest way to prevent STDs.  If you decide to keep having sex, you will want to use a latex condom every time with a water-based lubricant.  Don't have sex with multiple partners; it's best to practice monogamy.  Be choosy with your sex partners.  Get yourself checked for STDs frequently.  Don't use drugs or alcohol when you have sex because you might forget to use a condom.  Educate yourself.  Learn about STDs.

Prevent the Spread of STDs

So you went to the doctor's office.  Good job.  But, the doctor has told you that you have an STD.  What do you do so you don't spread it to others?

You stop having sex until you are treated.  Follow your doctor's instructions exactly.  Use condoms every time you have sex.  Wait for having sex until the doctor gives the okay.  Go back to the doctor for follow-up exams, and make sure your partner is treated.