Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed from one person to another through various types of sexual contact. Although more commonly referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), many of these "diseases" have no symptoms, even when a person is infected. Since people must first be infected before they can have a sexually transmitted disease, and some people will never have the disease symptoms, the terminology has been changing toward the term STI.
According to the World Health Organization, 448 million new cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomoniasis occur every year. However, more than 30 STIs exist and are especially dangerous because many people underestimate their risks. Many STIs are asymptomatic, meaning that an individual may not display any symptoms or the symptoms go unnoticed. Due to their potentially serious effects, it is important for anyone who is engaging in any type of sexual activity to be aware of the different STIs, their symptoms, and treatments.
STIs are the main preventable cause of infertility and several STIs, especially HIV and syphilis, can be transmitted from mother to infant during childbirth, blood transfer, or tissue transfer. Common STI symptoms include vaginal discharge, urethral discharge, lower abdominal pain, and swelling of the groin.[i]
The chances of acquiring an STI are reduced when a sexually active person is educated about the risk of transmission. If a person does acquire an STI, he or she can take appropriate action to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.[ii] We hope our run-through of the STIs is helpful to you; however, if you believe yourself to be at risk for contracting an STI, it is best to seek the help of a health care professional at a clinic or doctor's office.
[i] "Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)." WHO. World Health Organization, May 2013. Web. 06 June 2013.
[ii] LeVay, Simon, Janice I. Baldwin, and John D. Baldwin. “Sexually Transmitted Diseases.” Discovering Human
Sexuality. 2nd ed. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2012. 469. Print
Last Updated 06 June 2013.