Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Arti Sharma
Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 24 November 2023| min read
Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment

Quick Summary

  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are diseases that spread among individuals via sexual intercourse.
  • STDs can be acquired via vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
  • STDs exist in a variety of forms, for instance: Chlamydia, Genital herpes, Gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, HPV, Pubic Lice, and Syphilis.

The diseases that spread among individuals via sexual intercourse are known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Vaginal, oral, or anal sex are the three prevalent methods of intercourse. However, they can be acquired via alternative forms of intimate physical intercourse, as in the case of genital herpes HSV-1 and HSV-2  HPV, which develop by skin-to-skin touch. STDs exist in a variety of forms, for instance: 

  1. Chlamydia
  2. Genital herpes 
  3. Gonorrhoea 
  4. HIV/AIDS 
  5. HPV 
  6. Pubic Lice 
  7. Syphilis 

Signs and Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

To identify the infection, the following signs must be checked: 

  1. Unusual discharge & foul odour from the vagina/penis.
  2. Painful and frequent urination.
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Anal itching, soreness
  5. Discomfort during sex
  6. Rashes on the body

However, there are cases where you do not observe any symptoms. As a result, you might not even realise the disease until problems arise or your partner is affected with the same. 

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Causes and Risk Factors of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  1. You can acquire different kinds of STDs via different agents, such as:
    1. Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, and Chlamydia due to Bacteria
    2. Trichomoniasis from Parasites
    3. HPV, Genital Herpes, and HIV from Viruses
  2. Other means of acquiring infection are sexual contact through bodily fluids or skin contact. However, a few non-sexual methods of transmission include the usage of common syringes, sharing uncleaned sex toys, breastfeeding, and use of uncleaned needles during tattoo or piercing.
  3. You're at increased risk of STDs if you actively engage in sexual activities. Other aspects, such as unguarded sex, sexual intercourse with multiple companions, and a history of STDs, can also increase your risk of infection.

Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

To prevent themselves from Sexually Transmitted Diseases, one must take the following precautions: 

  1. Use Condoms: To ensure safer sex
  2. Get Vaccinated: To get protected against a few STDs like HPV, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B
  3. Get regular checkups 
  4. Communicate openly with your partner
  5. Male circumcision: It reduces the risk of infection 
  6. Avoid sexual contact with multiple partners

When is Doctor's consultation needed?

  1. One should consult a doctor immediately if they observe any signs and symptoms of STDs
  2. One should get a prior checkup if they're thinking about starting a sexual relationship or once they turn 21 - whichever comes sooner and also before having sexual contact with a new partner.
  3. However, since many STDs do not show symptoms, the patient should not wait to consult a doctor. Instead, if one suspects that they might have been exposed to an STI, they should seek medical care.

What are the Risks of Delayed Treatment?

STDs are a serious problem, and one must not neglect the symptoms, or they may face severe complications like infertility, inflammation in the eyes, arthritis, pelvic inflammatory disease, cancer, chronic pain, and even death. 

Diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Your doctor will examine you to determine whether you have an infection. They'll ask about your symptoms and sexual history and be honest to obtain the necessary care. 

Once your venereal history and clinical manifestations indicate that you have an STD, the doctor will perform a physical or pelvic exam to look for evidence of infection. Various diagnostic tests are: 

  1. Urine tests 
  2. Blood tests 
  3. Fluid sample tests 
  4. Examination of the genital area 
  5. Swabbed cultures 
  6. Tests such as antibody screening tests, antibody/antigen combination tests
  7. Nucleic acid tests and in-home testing kits are explicitly employed for HIV testing.

Treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  1. All STDs cannot be treated as the treatment options available for STDs are limited.
  2. However, existing therapies that your doctor could prescribe based on your disease condition include antibiotic therapy, antiviral therapy, etc.
  3. The treatment for bacteria-caused STDs is often uncomplicated and can be cured within time. On the other hand, virus infections can be managed but not completely healed.
  4. Over-the-counter drugs can heal parasitic infections. If you're pregnant and have an STI, undergoing immediate treatment will prevent you from disease severity and will also minimise the risk of infecting your baby.

Eligibility for STD Vaccine

  1. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages the HPV vaccine for girls and boys ages 11 and 12. However, it can be injected as early as age 9. If you are not fully vaccinated between the given age, the CDC recommends getting the vaccination until you are 26 years old.
  2. Hepatitis B vaccines are often administered to infants, whereas hepatitis A vaccines are advised for children aged one year.

Updated on : 24 November 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.


Dr. Arti Sharma

Dr. Arti Sharma

MBBS, DNB Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Diploma In Cosmetic Gynaecology

8 Years Experience

Dr Arti Sharma is a well-known Obstetrician and Cosmetic Gynaecologist currently associated with Aesthetica Veda in Bengaluru. She has 8 years of experience in Obstetrics and Cosmetic Gynaecology and worked as an expert Obstetrician...View More

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