An STD is a sexually transmitted disease. You may also hear the term STI, or sexually transmitted infection. An STD or STI is an illness that results when certain bacteria, viruses, or parasites spread through sexual activity.
Common STDs are:
- Genital warts (HPV)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
Regular annual exams and STD screenings are an important part of women’s health. If you experience symptoms that suggest an STD, seek prompt medical care, as some STDs can cause serious health problems.
Dignity Health has three excellent facilities in the Arizona area that are fully dedicated to women’s health services:
Use our online Find a Doctor tool to schedule a screening for STI/STDs in Arizona today.
Symptoms of STDs
It is possible to have an STD without any obvious signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms of STDs may also vary according to the type of infection. Symptoms may include:
- Pain, itching, or burning in the genital area
- Painful urination
- Unusual vaginal discharge including green, gray, white, yellow, and foul-smelling discharge
- Sores or unusual lumps or bumps in the genital area
- Pain during sex
- Enlarged lymph nodes
Causes of STDs
STDs are caused by sexually transmitted bacteria, viruses, and parasites. They can be spread through:
- Oral sex
- Vaginal sex
- Anal sex
- Sexual touching
Some STDs can also be passed from a woman to her child during pregnancy and at birth.
Preventing & Treating STDs
Prevention of STDs and proper STD treatment are important to protect a woman’s overall health and fertility. Prevention options include:
- Abstinence – not engaging in any sexual activity with another person — is one way to prevent STDs.
- Safer sex practices, including using barrier protection (s)uch as latex condoms or dental dams every time you have sex and limiting the number of your sexual partners can decrease your risk of contracting STDs.
- A monogamous sexual relationship with someone who does not have any STDs can also help prevent infection.
- Vaccination can prevent some STDs. Vaccinations are available against hepatitis and HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV causes genital warts, cervical dysplasia, and cervical cancer.
For many STDs, medical treatment can cure or control the infection. Some STDs, such as gonorrhea or syphilis, can be cured with antibiotic treatment.
There is currently no known cure for herpes, HPV, or HIV. However, your doctor can prescribe medication to control symptoms and slow the progression of the infection. Because STDs are sexually transmitted, your sexual partners may also need treatment.
With prompt diagnosis and treatment, most STDs can be controlled before they cause long-term complications.
Dignity Health provides comprehensive women’s health services, including treatment for STDs, in Arizona.