Sexually Transmitted Diseases also known as STD, encompass multiple diseases transmitted through sexual contact, including oral, anal and vaginal intercourse (in some cases skin to skin contact between genitals is enough to transmit a disease). They are produced by various infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses.

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    What is a STD?

    STD is the acronym used to refer to a sexually transmitted disease. There are many diseases that can be transmitted sexually. However, we will only focus on those diseases requiring a visit to a Dermatologist.

    What are the most common?

    • Genital Herpes: Herpes virus produced by Simple type 2, in 80% of cases, and herpes virus type 1 in 20% of cases. You must know that you can catch genital herpes even if your partner has no signs of infection. If you have any symptoms (like a soreness on the genitals, especially if it recurs frequently) laboratory tests can help determine if you have genital herpes. Currently, there is no cure for herpes but there is treatment to reduce symptoms and the risk of infecting others.
    • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condylomata acuminata or venereal warts are caused by HPV. Genital warts are transmitted through sexual transmission, appearing within three months of sexual contact. In women the warts appear on the labia, vagina, cervix or around the anus. In men, they appear on the penis, scrotum, and anal proximity in homosexual relations. The evolution of lesions is unpredictable: they may disappear, grow or remain stable.
    • Syphilis: It is produced by Treponema pallidum. Signs and symptoms of syphilis include: a firm round and small sore that is painless. It can be found on the genitals, anus, mouth or a rash on the body including the palms, hands or soles of the feet.
    • Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea is caused by neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. Symptoms in men and women may vary depending on the infected body part: Gonorrhea can affect the anus, eyes, mouth, genitals or throat. Symptoms usually appear between 2-21 days after contracting it. In men it usually presents itself with a light, purulent, thick, yellow discharge (mucous) released from the penis. It can also produce painful urination. There may be stinging or burning from the urethra. Testicular pain and swelling are quite common. In women, the infection may be asymptomatic. However, there may be signs and symptoms such as vaginal discharge, increased urination and urinary discomfort (dysuria). The expansion of the germ into the fallopian tubes can cause pain in the lower abdomen, shrinkage, fever, nausea and generalized symptoms when you have a bacterial infection.
    • Chlamydia: One in four men with chlamydia have no symptoms. In men, chlamydia can cause symptoms similar to gonorrhea. Symptoms may include: Burning sensation during urination, discharge from the penis or rectum, testicular pain or tenderness. Only about 30% of women with chlamydia have symptoms. These symptoms include a burning sensation during urination, painful intercourse (dyspareunia), pain or rectal discharge, symptoms of PID, salpingitis, liver inflammation similar to hepatitis or vaginal discharge.
    • HIV: Having a STD can increase your chance of getting HIV.
    • Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is easy to cure. The infection is usually asymptomatic, although women are more likely than men to have symptoms. Most people, especially men, do not know they are infected. When women have symptoms, they may include: Frothy textured and bad-smelling discharge, blood stains on the discharge, itching in the vagina and around it, swelling in the groin, the need to urinate frequently, often with pain and burning. Men rarely have symptoms, but they can be: flow from the urethra and the need to urinate frequently, often with pain and burning.


    The best contraceptive method to prevent STD’s is by the use of condoms. The latest scientific data indicates that condoms do not eliminate the risk of infection but reduces it by 80%, although it offers poor protection for three of the four most common STDs: Chlamydia, Human Papilloma Virus and Herpes. So, the probability of getting a STD not only depends on the effectiveness of condoms, but also the duration of the infectivity, the frequency of sexual activity at a given time and the number of different people of having sexual contact with. All of this must be taken into account to understand how a person can get infected despite using a condom.

    What should I do if I suspect I may have a STD?

    You should see your doctor or dermatologist. The doctor will perform appropriate diagnostic tests to establish the correct diagnosis.
    Doctor Pablo Umbert