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STDs - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

STDs stands for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. They're spread from person to person through sexual contact that involves blood, semen or vaginal and other bodily fluids. You can get STDs in the throat and anal canal, too.

  • When you get tested and start STD treatment early, you can prevent the spread of HIV.
  • If you're HIV+ and you're also infected with another STD, you're more likely to transmit HIV through sexual contact than other HIV+ people.
  • People infected with STDs are at greater risk than uninfected people to contract HIV. Testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases can help reduce the spread of HIV.

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Answers to Common Questions

What do HIV and other STDs have to do with each other?

Individuals infected with STDs are at least two to five times more likely than uninfected individuals to acquire HIV infection through sexual contact. In addition, if an HIV-infected individual is also infected with an STD, that person is more likely to transmit HIV through sexual contact than other HIV-infected persons (Wasserheit, 1992).

I have HIV. What happens if I get another STD?

If you already have HIV, and you get:

  • Gonorrhea or chlamydia, then you are more infectious to others.
  • Herpes, syphilis or genital warts, those STDs can be more severe than what is normally seen.

How do I avoid getting an STD?

  • Sexually transmitted diseases can be avoided by practicing safe sex (e.g., using condoms).
  • Avoid multiple sexual partners or having sexual partners who have multiple sexual partners, and having sex with someone who has an STD history. All this increases your risk of contracting STDs.
  • Avoid intravenous drugs use (injected into a vein) or having a partner who injects intravenous drugs. This can also decrease your chances of contracting an STD.

What do I do if the condom breaks?

You and your partner should get tested for STDs, including HIV as soon as possible. If you've been exposed to HIV and are HIV negative, ask for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP must be administered within 72 hours of exposure for optimal results.

What questions might I want to ask my doctor about STDs and my HIV/AIDS?

  • What are the symptoms of chlamydia?
  • What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?
  • What are the symptoms of other STDs?
  • How can I prevent STDs?
  • Is oral sex safe sex?
  • Can sexually transmitted disease be spread through oral sex?
  • Can a cold sore give me genital herpes?
  • Can I catch an STD by sitting on a public toilet?
  • Is cervical cancer an STD?
  • Can STDs make me infertile?
  • What is triple site STD testing?