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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. 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. There is no cure for HIV.
  • Parasitic infections are caused by parasites (tiny bugs) that live in the pubic hair. They include scabies and pubic lice (“crabs”). They can be spread during skin-to-skin sexual contact and from sharing bath towels, bedding and clothing. Scabies and lice can be cured with prescription soap.


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