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  • Sexually transmitted diseases, also referred to as sexually transmitted infections and venereal diseases, are illnesses that have a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, anal sex and oral sex. Some STIs can also be contracted by using IV drug needles after their use by an infected person, as well as through any incident involving the contact of a wound with contaminated blood or through childbirth or breastfeeding. Sexually transmitted infections have been well known for hundreds of years, and venereology is the branch of medicine that studies these diseases. While in the past, these illnesses have mostly been referred to as STDs or VD, the term sexually transmitted infections has been preferred by many up-to-date medical sources, as it has a broader range of meaning; a person may be infected, and may potentially infect others, without having a disease. There are 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections every year in the United States, and, in 2005, the World Health Organization estimated that 448 million people aged 15–49 were being infected a year with curable STIs.

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