How serious are venereal diseases? What is a venereal disease anyhow?
And why are they called STD or STI these days? What diseases are there?
The more sex you have, the more likely you'll be interested in these
questions. Here are a few answers:
Venereal diseases are
diseases you can catch through sex. Sexually transmitted diseases, in
other words, or STD for short. Actually, you can catch (or become
infected with) the agents that cause venereal diseases (pathogens)
without showing immediate signs of illness. That's why people also use
the term "sexually transmitted infections" or STI. The difference
between an infection and an illness is quite important.
As with other
infectious diseases, some time can elapse between the point of
infection and the appearance of signs of the illness (symptoms). During
this time, people don't see or feel anything of the infection.
Nevertheless, you can be infected by your sex partners during this
Or – if it's you that's infected – you can pass the infection on to others.
exactly causes a venereal disease? Or, more precisely, a sexually
transmitted infection? It's quite straightforward: every venereal
disease has its own causative agent or pathogen. And there's a whole
range of them: minute bacteria, dangerous viruses, tiny parasites. But
don't worry. They're not simply floating about in the air. Neither can
you catch them through everyday forms of contact like shaking hands.
No, the pathogens that cause venereal diseases require special living
conditions. Outside the human body most of them can usually survive
only for a very short time. But during sex people come close, very
close, together. And that makes it easy for these pathogens to pass
from one body to another.
The trouble is, you need to be a very
well trained doctor and have a good laboratory at your disposal to be
able to trace and recognize the various pathogens. It's very rare that
you yourself will be able to tell, when you're having sex, whether an
infection is present or not. So in certain situations it's best to be
careful – namely when you come in contact with body fluids. On this
site, we've listed just what things you've got to watch out for. Click
on the various body fluids in the navigation bar.