Sexually transmitted diseases
Handsfield, H. Hunter Sexually Transmitted Disease Control Program, Seattle-King County Public Health Department, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington.
Last reviewed:August 2019
Show previous versions
- Incidence and epidemiology
- Prevention and control
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Infections that are acquired and transmitted by sexual contact. Although virtually any infection may be transmitted during intimate contact, the term sexually transmitted disease (often abbreviated STD) is restricted to conditions that are largely dependent on sexual contact for their transmission and propagation in a population. The term venereal disease is literally synonymous with sexually transmitted disease, but traditionally was associated with only five long-recognized diseases [syphilis, gonorrhea, chancroid (soft chancre), lymphogranuloma venereum, and donovanosis (granuloma inguinale)]. Today, more than 20 conditions are categorized as sexually transmitted diseases, and they can be caused by a variety of pathogenic organisms, including bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and ectoparasites (parasites that live on the exteriors of their hosts). Sexually transmitted diseases occasionally are acquired nonsexually (for example, by newborn infants from their mothers, or by clinical or laboratory personnel handling pathogenic organisms or infected secretions), but in adults they are virtually never acquired by contact with contaminated intermediaries (for example, towels, toilet seats, or bathing facilities). However, some sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection [the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS); Fig. 1], viral hepatitis, and cytomegalovirus infection, are transmitted primarily by sexual contact in some settings and by nonsexual means in others. See also: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS); Cytomegalovirus infection; Gonorrhea; Granuloma inguinale; Hepatitis; Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Infection; Infectious disease; Pathogen; Public health; Syphilis
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information