Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s)

The term STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, is broad and refers to as many as 20 different diseases. College students are in one of the age groups most commonly afflicted with STDs. All of them are transmitted by sexual contact, usually through the exchange of bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid, and blood. Common STDs are chlamydia, crabs, genital warts, genital herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, molluscum contagiosum, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.

If your friend has had sexual contact with an infected person s/he can contract an STD. According to the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, increases were seen in all three nationally reported STDs. The approximately 1.4 million cases of chlamydia represent the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to CDC. Substantial increases were also seen among reported cases of gonorrhea and syphilis. While young people and women are most severely affected by STDs, increasing rates among men contributed to the overall increase in 2014 across all diseases.

Signs and Symptoms

The most obvious signs are bumps, open sores, blisters, warts, or cauliflower-like growths in the genital area. Some of these might be very painful, while others cause only mild itching or no discomfort at all. For females, regular pelvic exams and STD testing are important because some STDs have no symptoms at all. Other parts of the body may be affected depending on where sexual contact has occurred.

Males:

  • burning during urination
  • scrotal swelling
  • change in the color, amount, or consistency of penile discharge

Females:

  • abdominal pain
  • menstrual disruption