Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are commonly divided into two categories: Viral (those that cannot be cured) and Non-Viral (those that can be cured). These two basic categories represent the most common STDs.
These diseases cannot be cured. In the case of some viral STDs, such as HPV (Human Papillomavirus), a person's immune system may or may not be able to suppress the virus. In other cases, such as genital herpes, the virus typically requires medication in order to suppress outbreaks. Ads on TV for herpes medication do not claim to cure Herpes because they cannot--it is incurable. Rather these medications claim to help control the symptoms of the disease. The vast majority of the viral STDs today are HPV and Herpes II. (1,2)
These diseases typically have no outward symptoms. Although they can be cured, they often remain in the body, undiagnosed and uncured. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are particularly troublesome for teen girls because they are able to move through the reproductive system, possibly causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This disease can scar the fallopian tubes and prevent or hinder passage of the egg, which may cause infertility. Although the initial STD can be cured, the damage done to the person's body remains. (1,2,3)
The Most Diagnosed Diseases in the US
STDs are among the most diagnosed diseases in the United States. There are more than 40 different kinds of STDs and are almost always contracted through sexual activity with a person who is already infected. However, since most STDs can be present in a person's body without symptoms, your partner may not know that he or she is infected!
STDs remain a major public health challenge in the US. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing and treating certain STDs in recent years, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.
Click above to see vital information on STDs and Pregnancy from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The information on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tracking the Hidden Epidemics 2000; Trends in STDs in the United States, Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, 2000.
- Workshop summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, June 12-13, 2000, Herndon, VA, National Institutes of Health, July 20, 2001.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Trends in Reportable Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States, 2004, Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, November 2005.