Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) | Common Sexually Transmitted Infections

Share:

Pubic lice (crabs)

Symptoms: Women and men may have redness and itching around the genitals.

Treatment: Medicine, such as over-the-counter lotions or shampoos (some brand names: Nix, Rid) can kill the lice. Prescription shampoos, lotions or pills are also available to treat pubic lice if over-the-counter medicine doesn’t work. However, lice can come back if clothes, sheets and towels aren't washed. Usually both partners need to be treated for pubic lice.

Trichomoniasis

Symptoms: Women can have a heavy, greenish-yellow frothy discharge and pain when urinating or while having sex. In girls, trichomoniasis can also cause redness, itching and a burning feeling in the genital area. Men may also have burning with urination or ejaculation.

Treatment: Antibiotics. Usually both partners need to be treated.

Chlamydia

Symptoms: Women may have no symptoms or may have pain when urinating, itching around the vagina, yellow fluid (discharge) from the vagina, bleeding between periods or pain in the lower abdomen. Men may have a burning sensation when urinating and a milky colored discharge from the penis. If not treated, chlamydia can cause infertility and other problems in women and painful swelling of the scrotum in men.

Treatment: Antibiotics. Usually both partners should be treated.

Syphilis

Symptoms: An early symptom is a red, painless sore, called a chancre (say: shang-ker). The sore can be on the penis, vagina, rectum, tongue or throat. The glands near the sore may be swollen. After a few months, both men and women can get a fever, sore throat, headache or pain in their joints. Another symptom is a scaly rash on the palms of the hands or the bottom of the feet. The sores and other symptoms go away, but this does not mean that the infection is gone. Syphilis can cause serious health problems if it's not treated.

Treatment: Antibiotics. If one partner is infected, the other should be tested.

HIV/AIDS

Symptoms: HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) causes AIDS. HIV makes the body's immune system weak so it can't fight disease. Symptoms may take years to develop, and can include infections, feeling tired for no reason, and night sweats.

Treatment: Medicines can treat symptoms but can't cure AIDS. If one partner is infected, the other should be checked by a doctor.

Herpes

Symptoms: Women and men may have tingling, pain or itching around the vagina or penis. Small blisters can form in these areas and then break open. When they break open, the sores can cause a burning feeling. It may hurt to urinate. Some people have swollen glands, fever and body aches. The sores and other symptoms go away, but this does not mean that the infection is gone. The sores and blisters can come back (called an "outbreak").

Treatment: Medicine can treat symptoms but can't cure herpes. If one partner is infected, the other should by checked by a doctor.

Gonorrhea

Symptoms: Women may have no symptoms or may have white, green, yellow or bloody discharge from the vagina, pain when urinating, bleeding between periods, heavy bleeding during a period or a fever. Both women and men can get sore throats if they've had mouth to penis or vagina contact (oral sex). Men may have thick, yellow discharge from the penis and pain when urinating. The opening of the penis may be sore. Gonorrhea can cause serious health problems if it's not treated.

Treatment: Antibiotics. Usually both partners should be treated.

HPV/Genital Warts

Symptoms: HPV (human papillomavirus) can cause warts in or around the vagina, penis or rectum. In women, the warts can be inside the body on the cervix or vagina so you can't see them. Or they may be on the outside of the body, but may be too small to see. The warts usually don't hurt. There are many types of HPV. Depending on the type, HPV may not cause any symptoms.

Treatment: No medicine cures HPV. A doctor can remove external warts. Warts on the cervix or in the vagina can cause changes that may lead to cervical cancer. Doctors will watch these changes. If one partner is infected with HPV, the other should be checked by a doctor.

Some types of HPV can be prevented. There is a vaccine that can prevent 4 different types of HPV in young women. This vaccine targets the types of HPV that cause up to 70% of all cases of cervical cancer and about 90% of all cases of genital warts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that girls between the ages of 11 and 12 receive the vaccine. The vaccine is also approved for boys and girls and men and women between the ages of 9 years and 26 years. 

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 01/98

Share: