Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), risk of HIV infection, and condoms: what you need to know

Contracept Rep. 1996 Jul;7(2 Suppl):1-2.


PIP: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections which are spread through sexual contact. Common STDs include syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, AIDS, genital warts, chancroid, and trichomoniasis. Some STDs are caused by bacteria, while others are viral. Antibiotics can often effectively defeat bacterial infections, but few treatments are effective against viral infections. The viral STDs herpes and warts are painful and/or unsightly, while HIV infection is fatal. STD infection may be acquired through sexual contact with the penis, vagina, anus, mouth, and throat. Sexual abstinence, mutual monogamy with a non-infected sex partner, and sexual intercourse with the consistent, proper use of a latex condom are ways to avoid contracting and transmitting STDs through sexual intercourse. If one uses IV drugs, it is important to not share injecting equipment. If a partner refuses to use a male condom, a female condom may be used. Polyurethane condoms are also available on the US market for people who are allergic to latex. Male and female condoms are available over the counter in drug stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores. It remains unclear whether nonoxynol-9, the active ingredient in most US spermicides, prevents or facilitates HIV infection. STD infection is often asymptomatic in women. An individual who suspects being infected with HIV should seek attention by a health care provider.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior
  • Condoms*
  • Contraception
  • Disease
  • Family Planning Services
  • HIV Infections*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Infections
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases*
  • Virus Diseases