What Is an STI?

Sexually transmitted infections are a term used to describe diseases caused by contact with microbes of the human genital tract, anus, or mouth. They can be passed from one person to another through unprotected sexual intercourse or other forms of body-to-body contact.

What Are the Most Common STIs?

There are over 25 types of STIs, but many are more common than others. The most common STIs tend to be:

HIV/AIDS is the most common sexually transmitted infection caused by a virus and is spread through sexual contact with an infected person.

Gonorrhea is a bacterial disease that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women and lead to infertility. You can treat it with antibiotics.

Syphilis is an infection caused by the bacteria treponema pallidum: it spreads through sexual contact with an infected person. Symptoms include sore throat, fever, headache, patchy hair loss, and rashes on the skin. You can treat it with antibiotics. It may also lead to severe complications like brain damage and heart problems in later years.

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria: it is spread through sexual contact with an infected person.

Genital herpes is a viral disease that causes small painful sores on the genitals, buttocks, or mouth. You can spread it through skin-to-skin contact. It may also cause eye problems and increase the risk of HIV transmission.

Even if you do not feel symptoms, some infections, such as HIV, may not always have symptoms.

How To Treat These STIs?

All STIs can be treated, with some infections able to be cured entirely, while you can only treat others. Below are ways to treat these STIs:


Antibiotics are medicines that can kill bacteria. They must be taken for a set period, for example, seven days for gonorrhea and chlamydia, so the infection does not spread.


Disinfectants kill or keep pathogens from spreading from person to person. They may be sprayed on infected areas or used as creams.


Trichloroacetic acid is used as an antiseptic on cuts and sores left after treating STIs. It kills the germs with a bleach solution.


Vaccines are a way to protect yourself against certain diseases. These can be given by injection, by mouth, or intramuscularly.

Permanent Sterilization

If a person contracts an STI, it can cause serious health problems that could lead to death. Compulsive or poorly-managed sexual behaviors can significantly increase the chances of contracting STIs and may also place one at risk for other sexually transmitted infections.

What To Do?

If you have a sexually transmitted disease, you should see your doctor or gynecologist right away. It is also your responsibility to tell your sexual partner about any STI you may or may not have. Remember, you are not alone: many people and organizations can help you.

The best way to prevent a sexually transmitted infection is by avoiding sexual contact with an infected person until they get treated and their condition is gone.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Alex Tepper

Dr. Alex Tepper, MD, FACOG, is a nationally recognized board-certified OB/GYN with over 20 years of experience. He will be more than happy to help you with any questions or concerns you may have.

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