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  • Sexually transmitted infections, also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases and venereal diseases, are infections that are commonly spread by sex, especially vaginal intercourse, anal sex and oral sex. Most STIs initially do not cause symptoms. This results in a greater risk of passing the disease on to others. Symptoms and signs of disease may include: vaginal discharge, penile discharge, ulcers on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. STIs acquired before or during birth may result in poor outcomes for the baby. Some STIs may cause problems with the ability to get pregnant. More than 30 different bacteria, viruses, and parasites can cause STIs. Bacterial STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis among others. Viral STIs include genital herpes, HIV/AIDS, and genital warts among others. Parasitic STIs include trichomoniasis among others. While usually spread by sex, some STIs can also be spread by non-sexual contact with contaminated blood and tissues, breastfeeding, or during childbirth. STI diagnostic tests are easily available in the developed world, but this is often not the case in the developing world.

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