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What are the different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

There are three different kinds of STDs: bacterial, viral and parasitic.

  • Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria. They include chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. These can be cured by taking antibiotics.
  • Viral infections are caused by a virus. They include herpes (HSV-1 or HSV-2), human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. HSV-1, HSV-2 and HIV stay with a person for life and can be passed to partners even if there are no symptoms. There is no cure for HSV-1, HSV-2 or HIV. In some cases, HPV and hepatitis B can be cleared from the body, but there are also times when they stay with a person for life.
  • Parasitic infections are caused by parasites (tiny bugs) that live on the body or in pubic hair. They include scabies, pubic lice (“crabs”) and trichomoniasis. They can be spread through skin-to-skin sexual contact and from sharing bath towels, bedding and clothing. Scabies can be treated and cured with topical or oral medications. Pubic lice can be cured with prescription soap. Trichomoniasis can be cured with an antibiotic.


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