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What are STDs/STIs?

Sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STDs/STIs) are most often spread by sexual intercourse.
Examples of STDs include HIVchlamydiagenital herpesgenital wartsgonorrhoeasyphilistrichomoniasis, and some forms of hepatitis.

STDs used to be called venereal diseases (VD), and are among the most common contagious diseases. In 2018, the incidence of STDs in Singapore per 100,000 people is about 180; the incidence is higher in males than females (graph on left). Moreover, the highest proportion (over 40%) of STDs occur among people between 20-29 years of age (graph on right).

STDs may be categorised into:
•Bacterial: chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis
•Viral: HIV, genital herpes, genital warts (HPV), and hepatitis B
•Parasitic : Trichomoniasis

STDs require medical attention. Bacterial STDs are curable if treated early. Moreover, early treatment of an STD prevents transmission to others and also prevents complications. Most viral STDs however are not curable. For instance, HIV cannot be cured and can be deadly. By learning more about STDs, you can learn how to protect yourself.

What Causes STDs?

The germs that cause STDs hide in semen, blood, vaginal secretions, and sometimes saliva. While most are spread by vaginal, anal, or oral sex, some may be spread through skin contact (e.g., genital herpes and genital warts). Hepatitis B may spread by sharing personal items, like toothbrushes or razors, with someone who has it. Although trichomoniasis is often spread by sexual contact, it may spread through contact with damp or moist objects such as towels, clothing, or toilet seats. You are at high risk if:
•You have more than one sex partner
•You have sex with someone who has had many partners
•You don’t use a condom when having sex
•You share needles when injecting intravenous drugs
•You trade sex for money or drugs

You may not realize you have an STD until you have damage to your reproductive organs (i.e., you become infertile), vision, heart, or other organs. (Refer to our individual STD pages to learn more about each STD and its complications.) Having an STD may also weaken the immune system, making you more vulnerable to other infections. If you pass an STD to your newborn child, the baby may suffer permanent harm or death.

Remember, early treatment of an STD is the key to preventing transmission to others; early treatment also prevents complications from developing, and increases your chances of being treated effectively.

Be responsible. If you are in a new sexual relationship, or have had casual sex, you should screen for STD. Persuade your partners to be screened as well.

Stop the spread of STDs/STIs.

Get tested for potential STIs today. There are sensitive and accurate tests.

If you suspect you may have an STD, contact our doctors immediately.


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