Sexually transmitted diseases, called STDs or STIs by most, are primarily contracted when one sexual partner transfers the disease-causing agent to the other partner during intercourse. Although STDs are quite common, they are difficult to catch without sexual contact. Knowing how to prevent or treat STDs can help safeguard reproductive and overall health. The following are some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia is the most common STD. Many people who get this disease are asymptomatic or do not experience any symptoms for the first weeks or months. This delay in symptoms is likely why chlamydia spreads so easily; people are unaware they have it, so they do not take precautions. Both men and women can contract chlamydia. In women, the infection reaches the cervix and, if untreated, can damage the reproductive system, making pregnancy difficult. Symptoms include abnormal discharge and burning during urination. In men, chlamydia affects the penile urethra, causing symptoms such as pain or swelling in the testicles and discharge from the penis. Fortunately, chlamydia is curable with medication designed specifically to kill the infection, and condoms effectively reduce transmission.
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