Sexual Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexual contact serves as a means of transmitting a diverse range of microorganisms. While many of these microorganisms are capable of establishing themselves in the genital region, they typically do not lead to any diseases. However, a select few of these microorganisms, capable of causing illnesses, are classified as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Consequences of STDs

The consequences of STDs can encompass various health issues, including:

  1. Increased Severity of Genital Lesions: STDs can lead to larger and more destructive genital lesions, causing discomfort and potentially affecting the overall health of the affected individual.
  2. Infertility: Some STDs may result in infertility due to complications such as fallopian tube occlusion. This can hinder a person’s ability to conceive.
  3. Weakened Immune System: Certain STDs can compromise the immune system, especially in individuals undergoing treatments like chemotherapy or taking immunosuppressant drugs. This makes them more susceptible to infections and other health complications.
  4. Vertical Transmission: In the case of pregnant individuals, some STDs can be transmitted to the neonate during pregnancy (antepartum) or during childbirth (intrapartum). This can lead to health issues in the newborn, necessitating medical attention.

STD Transmission

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be transmitted through various means, including:

  1. Sexual Contact: As previously mentioned, STDs are primarily transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse with an infected partner.
  2. Blood Contact: Sharing needles or engaging in intravenous drug use can expose individuals to bloodborne STDs like HIV and hepatitis B and C.
  3. Non-Sterilized Surgical Instruments: Inadequately sterilized surgical instruments can pose a risk of transmitting bloodborne infections, particularly in healthcare settings.
  4. Mother-to-Child Transmission: Some STDs, such as syphilis and HIV, can be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
  5. Hand Contact: While less common, some STDs, like human papillomavirus (HPV) and molluscum contagiosum, can theoretically be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated surfaces. However, this mode of transmission is less likely compared to sexual contact.
  6. Inanimate Objects: The risk of STD transmission from inanimate objects, such as toilets or doorknobs, is very low. Most STDs do not survive long outside the human body, making transmission through inanimate objects highly unlikely.

Correct and consistent use of latex condoms is an effective method for reducing the risk of STD transmission during sexual activity. Condoms provide a barrier that helps prevent direct contact with infected bodily fluids.  Therefore, it’s crucial to practice safe sex, get regular screenings, and seek prompt medical treatment when needed to prevent or manage the complications associated with STDs.


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Human Reproduction: A Clinical Approach Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Hala Bastawros, M.D is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.