What Are the Three Most Common STDs?

September 3, 2021

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are spread from one person to another typically during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. In 2018, there were 26 million new reported STD cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And while that number may already seem quite high, it might actually be higher since the majority of STDs don’t present with symptoms. This means that many people who have an infection may not even know it—and thus, unwittingly spread it to others.

There are over a dozen STDs to be aware of, but which ones are the most common? In this article, we’ll drill down into the three most prevalent STDs affecting people today.

1. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is the most common STD. The CDC reports that nearly 80 million people are infected with HPV in the United States, including 14 million teenagers.

This infection generally presents with no symptoms, although some people may experience warts on the genitals, mouth, or throat. Certain types of HPV can lead to cancer, such as cervical or oral cancer.

There is no treatment for HPV. Rather, the infection oftentimes clears up on its own. Still, it’s important to receive regular STD testing if you are sexually active to learn if you have acquired this infection and if you have the strain (HPV 16 or HPV 18) that may lead to cancer.

The HPV vaccine can also protect men and women from this infection. It’s most effective when given between the ages of 11 and 12, although older teens and young adults can also receive the vaccine. Generally, it’s regarded not as effective if given to patients older than 26.

2. Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most reported STD, which is an STD that must be reported to local health departments when diagnosed. It is a bacterial infection that can often be cured with a round of antibiotics. Untreated, chlamydia can cause serious health complications for women, as the infection can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition that could result in permanent damage to the reproductive system.

Not everyone with chlamydia will have symptoms, but those that do may experience:

  • Painful urination
  • Pain during sex
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding
  • Abnormal discharge from the genitals

The best way to prevent chlamydia is to engage in safe sex by always using condoms and to get regular STD testing if you are sexually active (especially if you’re not in a monogamous relationship with a disease-free partner).

3. Gonorrhea

The third most common STD (and second most reported one), gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Delaying treatment, however, can lead to medical complications. Like chlamydia, untreated gonorrhea can result in pelvic inflammatory disease in women. It can also increase one’s risk of contracting HIV.

Most gonorrhea cases don’t present with symptoms, but some of the most common signs of this infection include:

  • Painful urination
  • Abnormal discharge from the genitals
  • Bleeding between periods (in women)
  • Swollen testicles (in men)

A mother can pass on gonorrhea to her baby during childbirth. That’s why medical professionals encourage pregnant women to receive STD testing before birth.

STD Testing & Treatment at PhysicianOne Urgent Care

Are you in need of prompt STD testing in New York, Connecticut, or Massachusetts? PhysicianOne Urgent Care is open seven days per week and has extended hours to meet your needs. Just stop by one of our conveniently located facilities—all of them have an on-site diagnostic lab to quickly process STD tests for fast results. If you are diagnosed with an STD, we’ll develop a comprehensive treatment plan to get you on the road to wellness.

Stop by PhysicianOne Urgent Care today for STD testing! Click here to find an urgent care clinic near you.

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