nd.gov - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends
Go to the Health Department home page

About Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs):

Is there a cure for STDs?

STDs caused by viruses cannot be cured. These diseases include genital warts, genital herpes, hepatitis B and HIV. Treatment may help with symptoms.

STDs caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. These include syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The earlier these diseases are diagnosed, the easier they are to treat.

How are STDs spread?

People become infected with STDs when they have sexual contact with an infected person. Any type of sexual contact poses some risk, including genital to genital, oral to genital, anal to genital and oral to anal contact.

What are the symptoms of STDs?

Symptoms vary depending on the disease. In general, symptoms of STDs may include:

Many people, especially women, may not have symptoms.

What about HIV and STDs?

If you have an STD, you are more likely to become infected with HIV if you are exposed. If infected with HIV and another STD, you are more likely to pass HIV to your sexual partner.

Am I at risk of getting an STD?

You may be at risk of getting an STD if:

What are some of the complications of STDs?

STDs in women can lead to a variety of complications. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Women who have had PID may not be able get pregnant or have children. Women infected with a variety of STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis B, and syphilis can pass these infections onto their babies. All of the infections can be given to the baby when the baby passes through the birth canal of an infected mom. Syphilis can also be passed to the baby while the baby is in the womb.
Babies infected with STDs are at risk for a variety of health problems. Babies infected with syphilis while still in the womb may die, have deformed bones, brain damage and other problems. Babies infected with herpes at birth may develop encephalitis, a swelling in the brain, that may cause permanent brain damage or death. Babies infected with hepatitis B will likely have hepatitis the rest of their lives and may develop liver failure and die. Babies infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea usually have eye infections. Babies can also develop pneumonia from chlamydia.
Complications in men can also occur. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause epididymitis which is an infection of a structure attached to the testicles. This infection can lead to infertility on rare occasions.
In all people, syphilis can cause brain damage, skin and bone damage and heart problems. Gonorrhea can cause arthritis, blood infections and heart problems. Hepatitis B can cause liver failure and is associated with liver cancer.

What can I do to protect myself?