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What are STDs and how do they relate to HIV infection?

STD stands for "sexually transmitted disease." STDs are infections that are passed on through the close, intimate contact that usually accompanies sexual activities.

Some common STDs include the following:
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Trichomoniasis ("Trich")
Human papilloma virus (HPV) (the virus that causes warts and can lead to cervical and anal cancer)
Genital herpes
Hepatitis B infection
Hepatitis C infection
Understanding the risk

If you have ever had an STD, you may have been exposed to HIV as well, and should consider getting tested for HIV.

If you currently have an STD, you need to see a medical provider as soon as possible. Having an STD causes the skin to break down and can increase the risk of getting HIV, or passing HIV to others if an HIV-infected person has an STD. STDs also can cause problems of their own, which can range from minor and annoying in nature to serious and life-threatening. Some STDs can be present without causing symptoms. Therefore, if you think you are at risk of contracting STDs, you should be tested routinely for both HIV and STDs, even if you have no symptoms.

Protect yourself

Taking steps to protect yourself from HIV, such as using condoms and other latex barriers if you are having sex, will also provide protection against many other STDs. Some STDs (such as herpes and genital or anal warts), however, can still be passed by skin-to-skin contact during sex even if you are taking steps to protect yourself from HIV.

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