Common STD Facts


Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States and it often has no symptoms. Many people do not know they are infected. If symptoms do occur, they may include discharge from the vagina or penis, burning during urination, and abdominal pain. Chlamydia can be cured. Without treatment, Chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, urethral infections, scarring in the fallopian tubes, lasting pain and infertility. An infected person’s sex partners need to be notified, tested and treated. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 208 million people are infected with Chlamydia each year.


Gonorrhea is a bacterial STD which is curable with antibiotics. Symptoms of gonorrhea can include discharge from the vagina, penis or anus, pain or burning with urination, pain or swelling of the testicles, and bleeding between periods. Gonorrhea can also be found in the throat. Without treatment, an infected person may develop arthritis, heart problems, pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. According to the CDC, it is estimated that more than 700,000 people are infected with gonorrhea each year.


Syphilis is spread through direct contact with an infectious sore. The first sign is a painless sore on the penis, vagina, anus, mouth or elsewhere on the body. The sore lasts an average of 3 weeks and heals on its own. After a month or two, new symptoms may appear, such as rashes on the feet and hands, or multiple skin lesions. If untreated, there may be damage to the internal organs, complications for pregnancy or death of a newborn. Syphilis is curable with antibiotics. According to the CDC, there are approximately 35,000 new cases of syphilis each year.

Genital Warts (HPV)

Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV can cause growths or bumps to appear in the genital area. They can be raised or flat, single, multiple, small or large. Some people do not show any signs of infection. There is no cure for HPV but warts caused by HPV may be treated. According to the American Social Health Association (ASHA), about 20 million people are thought to have HPV at any given time, and that 80% will be infected at some point in their lives. It is estimated that 45% of all HPV infections are in women ages 20-24.


Herpes is a virus that causes cold sores on the mouth or genital areas. There are two types of virus: herpes type 1 and herpes type 2. Some people have no symptoms while others suffer from multiple outbreaks. There is no cure for herpes. There is, however, medication to help with outbreaks but it does not kill the virus. It is possible to spread herpes even when you are not having an outbreak. According to CDC and ASHA, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men have genital herpes type 2, or approximately 60 million people over the age of 12. It is also estimated that 30% of all new genital herpes infections are type 1.


Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection. Symptoms in women may include unusual discharge with strong odor, irritation and itching in the vaginal area, and pain or discomfort with intercourse or urination. Most men do not show any symptoms. If a man does show symptoms, they may include irritation inside the penis, discharge from the penis, or a mild burning with urination. Trichomoniasis is curable with antibiotics. According to the CDC, an estimated 7.4 million new cases occur each year in men and women.

Molluscum Contagiosum

A skin disease that is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). MCV is generally a benign infection but may cause small lesions. In some cases, symptoms may self resolve.

Remember - No one can diagnose you by phone or the internet. It is important that you see a medical provider if you are concerned about symptoms you may be having or if you are concerned that you my have an STD or HIV.

STD facts are drawn from the following sources. For more information go to: