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STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections generally acquired by sexual contact. The organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases may pass from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids.

Some of these infections can also be transmitted nonsexually, such as from mother to infant during pregnancy or childbirth, or through blood transfusions or shared needles.

It’s possible to contract sexually transmitted diseases from people who seem perfectly healthy — people who, in fact, aren’t even aware of being infected. Many of the infections transmitted through sex cause no symptoms, which is one of the reasons experts prefer the term “sexually transmitted infections” to “sexually transmitted diseases.” The symptoms of several sexually transmitted infections are also easy to mistake for those of other conditions, so the correct diagnosis may be delayed.

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