While it is normal and healthy for people to enjoy active sex lives, there are more than 30 sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can make things unpleasant. Every year 2.5 million U.S. teenagers get STDs. Nobody is immune. Practice Safe Sex, so you won't have to worry about STDs and STIs, and sex will be a lot more fun.





women usually have none; men have pain/burning when urinating, yellow discharge

antibiotic to kill bacteria

crabs or pubic lice *

severe itching

prescription or over-the-counter lotion (Kwell)

genital herpes

red bumps/blisters in genital area; pain or burning when peeing

pills & ointment for symptoms but no cure

genital warts or HPV

may have none; bumpy warts on, inside, or near genitals, or anus

some treatments but no cure; new vaccine


pain/burning when urinating; yellow discharge; sometimes no symptoms

antibiotic to kill bacteria

hepatitis B & C *

yellow skin, abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting

pills, shots for symptoms but no cure; vaccine

molluscum contagiosum *

small white or skin colored bumps on skin, sometimes around genital/anal area

pills, removal of bumps, or clears up on its own

pelvic inflammatory disease (women only) *

unusually long or painful periods; cramping or pain in pelvic or abdominal area


scabies *

line of small red spots -- very itchy

prescription or over-the-counter lotion (Kwell)


painless open sores, rash, genital ulcers, flu-like symptoms

antibiotics to kill bacteria

vaginal infections *

smelly or funny-colored discharge, itching


yeast infection *

itching, discharge, soreness in genital area

Monistat or other over-the-counter treatments

* Not always sexually transmitted. You can get it without having sex.

Most of these are serious. They have dangerous consequences and need medical care. STDs and STIs can make you unable to have children, cause birth defects, and increase your chances of getting cancer. For women, pelvic inflammatory disease and yeast infections that keep coming back can be early signs of HIV infection. And AIDS, hepatitis B & C, and syphilis can kill.

You may not have all of these symptoms or you may have other symptoms, like abdominal pain. Women often have no symptoms, so it's important to have a pelvic exam every year. Men and women who are having anal sex can ask for a rectal exam. If you think you may have been exposed to any STDs or STIs, see a healthcare provider and ask what to do. Check Resources for STD testing and women's clinics.

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practice safe sex, so you won't have to worry about STD's

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