Sexually Transmitted Disease Facts and Photos Website
The Images on this Site are Disturbing
The photographs available at this site are explicit and may be disturbing to some viewers. By entering this site, you agree that you are either an adult, or have your parent or guardian's permission to view explicit information and images on the internet. Please review our user agreement before going any further. This site is not for children, the squeamish, or the faint of heart.
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"When you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with for the last ten years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last ten years."
- C. Everett Koop, M.D., Former U.S. Surgeon General
The STD pictures found here are provided to help you to understand what could happen. However, if you feel you may have an STD, you cannot diagnose yourself based on these photos alone. It is important to understand that many of the infections described may look different in different people. In many cases, the extent of the symptoms cannot be captured by a detailed photograph. Some of the most common STDs, like human papillomavirus (HPV), have no visible symptoms at all.
STD or STI? What's in a name
Diseases that are spread through sexual contact are usually called "sexually transmitted diseases," or STDs. Recently, however, many public health experts have suggested replacing STD with a new term — "sexually transmitted infection," or STI.
Why the change? The word "disease," as in STD, implies a clear medical problem, with some obvious symptom. But many of the most common STDs have no signs or symptoms in infected women and men, or they have mild signs and symptoms that are easily overlooked. So the sexually transmitted virus or bacteria can be described as creating "infection," which may or may not result in a "disease." This is true of chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV), to name a few. All STDs are STIs, but not all STIs are STDs. For this reason, in some of the published literature, the term "disease" has been replaced by "infection."
Even broader is the term "reproductive tract infection" or RTI. These are infections of the reproductive organs which may be spread sexually or contracted through other means. These include pelvic inflammatory disease, yeast infection, and cervicitis.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 19 million new infections occur each year, with almost half of them among young people 15 to 24 years of age.
In addition youth, women are also severely affected. Biological factors place women at greater risk than men for the most severe health consequences from STDs. The two most commonly reported infectious diseases in America — chlamydia and gonorrhea — pose a greater risk to the health of women, as both can result in infertility. Together, these two diseases were reported in almost 1.5 million Americans in 2007, but the majority of cases continue to go undiagnosed.
Both of these diseases, along with syphilis and genital herpes, have also been associated with increased HIV transmission, which is of particular concern among men who have sex with men and African-Americans, where the HIV burden is now greatest. Reducing the preventable and persistent toll of STDs will require expanded access to prevention, treatment, and screening services for the diverse populations now at risk.
Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,Trends in Reportable Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States, 2007, National Surveillance Data for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis, updated January 13, 2009.
STD Reporting: Who Will Know?
All states require that certain STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chancroid, be reported to public health officials; many states have instituted reporting systems for other STDs, such as genital herpes. Nearly all states require that HIV infection and AIDS be reported. Reporting is not a breach of confidentiality; in fact, protection of patients' names is a critical part of disease control strategies. Accurate reporting helps identify trends in disease, gain resources for afflicted communities, and evaluate control efforts.
Source: JM Marrazzo, F Guest, W Cates, "Reproductive Tract Infections," In Hatcher et al, Contraceptive Technology, Ardent Media, 2007, p. 508.