What are STDs? Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs for short) is a term used to talk about various types of infections and viruses that can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Sometimes they are called STIs (or sexually transmitted infections). At 216Teens, we use the term STD to talk about any and all viruses and infections that are transmitted by sex, including HIV.
There are three different types of STDs: bacterial, viral, and parasitic. Click here to learn more about the different types of STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV and more.
Most STDs do not cause any symptoms for a long time, but they can still be harmful and spread during sex. Many are not detectable through testing right away and may take a few weeks to a few months to test positive, so talk to your healthcare provider about the right time to get tested. You can’t rely on symptoms to know whether you have an STD.
STDs are very common, especially among young people. There are about 20 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States, and about half of these are in people between the ages of 15 and 24.