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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Great Imitator, Effective Treatment Developed, Continuing Challenge, From Chlamydia To Aids, Viruses More Difficult To Treat

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diseases that are contracted through sexual contact. STDs are caused by a wide range of organisms including viruses, bacteria, chlamydiae, mycoplasma, fungi, protozoa, and arthropods. STDs remain epidemic in all societies and the range of known STD causng pathogens continues to increase.

Long known as venereal disease, after Venus, the Roman goddess of love, sexually transmitted diseases are increasingly common. The more than 20 known sexually transmitted diseases range from old to new, from the life-threatening to painful and unsightly. The life-threatening sexually transmitted diseases are syphilis, which has been known for centuries, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), which was first identified in 1981.

Most sexually transmitted diseases can be treated successfully, although untreated sexually transmitted diseases remain a huge public health problem. Untreated The progression of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Illustration by Hans & Cassidy. Courtesy of Gale Group.
sexually transmitted diseases can cause everything from blindness to infertility. While AIDS is the most widely publicized sexually transmitted disease, others are more common. More than 13 million Americans of all backgrounds and economic levels develop sexually transmitted diseases every year. Prevention efforts focus on teaching the physical signs of sexually transmitted diseases, instructing individuals on how to avoid exposure, and emphasizing the need for regular check-ups.

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