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Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


What Are the 10 Most Common STDs?


By Medical Author: Dr. Jasmine Shaikh

By Medical Reviewer: Shaziya Allarakha

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are common health conditions worldwide. Millions of people are diagnosed with at least one STD every year in the United States.

STDs are most likely to be spread by sexual contact including vaginal, anal or oral sex. Some STDs can even spread through intimate rubbing or grinding and non-sexual means such as through blood or blood products.

Table 1. 10 most common STDs in the United States


Name of STD

Signs and symptoms

Is it curable?


Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Genital warts that can be raised, flat or cauliflower-shaped

No, although the infection may clear up on its own in most cases. However, treatment can help eliminate warts. Vaccines to prevent HPV are also available.



Minor discharge or burning with urination in men.

Yellowish-green vaginal discharge with prominent odor, itching of the vaginal area or painful sex or urination in women.

Only 30 percent of infected people develop symptoms.

Yes, but can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and prostatitis if left untreated.



Burning or itching of the genitals and abnormal vaginal discharge in women.

Discharge from the penis in men.

Painful urination.

Yes, but it can cause infertility if left untreated.



Burning during urination

Vaginal or urethral discharge

Pelvic pain in women

Swelling of the testes and discharge from the penis in men.

Yes, but if left untreated, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women that can lead to infertility. Untreated gonorrhea in men can also lead to male infertility.



A round, firm, painless sore on the genitals or anal area

Rash on soles of the feet, palms or other parts of the body.

Enlarged lymph nodes, fever, fatigue and hair loss

Yes, and if left untreated, it can lead to nerve damage, blindness, paralysis and even turn life-threatening.


Genital herpes

Fluid-filled blisters known as herpes sores that ooze and later crust followed by healing.

Tingling or burning sensation a day before the sores appear.



No, but antiviral treatment can reduce the severity of the outbreak. Over the counter creams or lotions can soothe sores.


Hepatitis B

Nausea, abdominal pain


It is possible to go for years without symptoms.

No, but there is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B infection. Most people recover with proper treatment.


Human immunodeficiency virus/Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)

Flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, rash, night sweats, sore throat, recurrent mouth ulcers, unintentional rapid weight loss, diarrhea lasting for more than a week with new infection.

No, but proper antiretroviral medications can suppress virus multiplication in the body.


Bacterial vaginosis

A thin, white, gray or green vaginal discharge

Vaginal itching

Foul-smelling “fishy” odor

Burning during urination.



Pubic lice

Itching, small red bumps or spots on the skin

Blue spots on the thighs or lower abdomen.

Dark brown powder (louse droppings) on the skin or in the underwear.



How to prevent STDs

Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have no cure, whereas others may cause infertility. Hence, prevention is the key that can be done by following safe sex practices. Here are the important ones.

  • Use condoms and dental dams during sex while ensuring they stay in place

  • Limit sexual activities to only one person

  • Avoid casual sex

Be aware of the modes of transmission of STDs. You can gather knowledge from reliable sexual health education sources.

If you have an STD, you may have no symptoms at all initially or have mild symptoms. Do not hesitate to get tested if you feel you are at risk of STDs.

Get vaccinated. It can help prevent STDs.

Having one STD also makes you more likely to get another STD. Discuss the risks with your doctor.

Share the status of your sexual health with your partner and encourage them to do the same. Seek early treatment if tests come out to be positive for any STD and encourage your partner to get tested and treated early.

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