10 common STDs you need to know

Sexually transmitted diseases are infections transmitted through sexual intercourse or contact. These diseases can have grave consequences if not treated well. Below is a list of the most common ones and how one can get tested for each.


Treponema pallidum is the bacterium responsible for this disease. It occurs after direct contact with syphilis sores which can be in the mouth, vagina or penis. Chancres, small painless sores that appear in the early stages may heal by themselves but that does not mean that the disease is completely treated. A blood test (can be either nontreponemal or treponemal) or a urine test can be done to test for the disease.


Gonorrhea, also known as “the clap”, this is also a bacterial disease that infects both men (urethra) and women (cervix).  It can also affect the throat as a result of oral sex with an infected person. The disease is dangerous because it may not necessarily have symptoms to show its presence.  Urines samples can be taken to test for the STI. Also, a sample of body fluid collected from the infected area can be collected for testing at a STD testing center.


Trichomoniasis has been reported to be the most common STD among young sexually active women. Most of its cases go un-noticed because some people mistake it for yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis due to similar symptoms. The disease can also affect men although it may not show symptoms.  The STD has various testing options such antigens test, DNA tests, cell culture tests and testing of a sample from the urethra in men and vaginal discharge in women under a microscope. Find out more at your nearest STD clinic.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Popularly known as HIV, is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the body’s immune system therefore making the body weak. The virus attacks the white blood cells which are responsible for fighting infections and diseases in the body. This is a dangerous infection because if it is not treated, it can lead to suffering from AIDS. Blood tests are carried out to test for the viral infection. It is especially encouraged for sexually active individuals who may have contracted other STIs and STDs in the past.


Caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis, this STI is the most common of them all affecting men and women of the younger population of sexually active people. Like gonorrhea, chlamydia does not necessarily have symptoms. This makes the disease even more dangerous as many people can pass it along not knowing that they have contracted it. The two most common tests for the STI are swab tests and urine tests that are available at any STD testing centers.


Candidiasis is a fungal infection that affects 3 in every 4 women at some point in their lives. This yeast infection recurs often and is transmitted via vaginal intercourse. Candidiasis is easy to test and treat. To test for yeast infection, a simple physical examination is done on the vaginal area using a cotton swab.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is an extremely infectious STD caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) strain. Genital herpes causes painful blister-like sores in the penis and scrotum in men and labia and vagina in women. There are three tests done to determine existence of genital herpes:

  • IGG and IGM blood test to see if you are producing herpes fighting antibodies.
  • PCR blood test used to test a patient whose symptoms are not visible using the virus’s DNA.
  • Cell culture involves taking a sample of cells from the patient’s blister and checking for HSV using a microscope.

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum causes skin infection in both adults and children. The virus is transmitted through sexual intercourse or close contact with an infected person. There will normally be no physical tests done because the infection is diagnosed by just by checking for the distinct dome-shaped wounds.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

HPV is a collection of different viruses transmitted sexually. The infection affects the skin and moist lining areas of the body such as the mouth, throat, cervix and/or anus. HPV increases the risk getting cancer. HPV tests include:

  • Pap smear – tests involves checking for abnormal cells in the cervix.
  • DNA test – This is an added test used for women who are 30 years and above.
  • Acetic acid (vinegar) test – reveals hard to detect lesions

Mycoplasma Genitalium

Commonly referred to as MG, this STD is caused by Mycoplasma Genitalium bacteria affecting the cervix, throat, urethra and anus in both men and women. MG tests involve a blood test or urine test.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is caused by the HBV virus and affects the liver. The virus is transmitted through blood and body fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids. The hepatitis B blood tests include: HBsAb or Anti-HBs (hepatitis B surface antibody), HBsAg (hepatitis B surface antigen) and HBcAb or anti-HBc (hepatitis B core antibody).

Now that you know a little bit about these diseases, it is important to take care of yourself and your sexual life to prevent contracting any of them. Abstaining from sex is the best way to prevent contraction. However, for those who still engage in sexual activities, practicing safer sex and regularly testing for STIs will go a long way in preventing the same.