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Sexually Transmitted Disease Glossary:

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS): AIDS is considered the most severe manifestation of infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list numerous opportunistic infections and cancers that, in the presence of HIV infection, constitute an AIDS diagnosis.  In 1993, the CDC expanded the criteria for an AIDS diagnosis in adults and adolescents to include CD4 positive T-cell count at or below 200 cells per microliter in the presence of HIV infection.  People living with AIDS often have infections of the lungs, brain, eyes, and other organs.  People with AIDS also frequently suffer debilitating weight loss, diarrhea, and a type of cancer called Kaposi Sarcoma.

Anal wart: Painless bumps around the anus, usually transmitted through sexual exposure.

Carrier: A person who has an infection and can transmit the infection to another without knowledge of symptoms or infection.

Cervicitis: Infection and/or inflammation of the cervix.

Chancre: Pronounced "shan-kar" a chancre is a painless bump usually found in the genital area during primary syphilis.

Chlamydia: A bacterial infection, caused by Chlamydia Trachomatic,  which is commonly asymptomatic and can cause infertility in women due to lack of treatment.  Infection can occur in the throat, eyes, genital, and rectal areas.  Testing is highly recommended for sexually active adults, particularly before major complications develop.   

Communicable disease: A disease that is transmitted through direct contact with an infected individual or indirectly through a vector.  Also called contagious disease. 

Crabs: See pubic lice

Epididymitis: Infection and inflammation of the epididymis (a structure that is above both testicles in the scrotum).

Genital blister: See genital herpes

Genital herpes: A highly contagious, sexually transmitted, viral infection caused by herpesvirus type one or two and characterized by painful blisters/lesions on the genital area and/or anal region.  People with genital herpes may also experience a burning or tingling sensation in the genital area and/or mild flu like symptoms.  Genital herpes can also cause internal vaginal irritation, which may be misdiagnosed as a yeast infection.

Genital ulcer disease: sore, chancre, blister, lesion, or red, white, or clear fluid filled bumps in the genital area.  These are often caused by one of the following sexually transmitted diseases:  herpes, syphilis, human papilloma virus (HPV), or molluscum contagiosum.

Genital Wart: See human papilloma virus (HPV)

Gonorrhea: Common bacterial infection caused by Neisseria Gonorrhoeae.  Although infections can be asymptomatic for both men and women, symptoms for men can include:  urethritis, epididymitis and prostatitis.  Symptoms for women can include:  urethritis, cervicitis, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).  Testing is highly recommended for sexually active adults and before serious complications develop.  Treatment can be administered through intrevenous means or orally and can consist of one or more doses.

Hepatitis A: A virus that causes infection and inflammation of the liver.  Hepatitis A is found in the stool of an infected person and can be transmitted through improper handling of food or through oral-anal sexual contact.

Hepatitis B: A virus that causes inflammation of the liver.  Transmission can occur through sexual contact, blood exposure, and perinatally (from mother to child).  Infection may not be obvious through signs or symptoms, but may include nausea, jaundice, diarrhea, fatigue, dark urine, and light colored stool.

Hepatitis C: A virus that causes inflammation of the liver.  Although it can be transmitted sexually, it is most common among those sharing intravenous drugs.  A person with chronic hepatitis can be without symptoms for as long as 10-20 years.

Herpes: See genital herpes

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): The virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): A DNA virus of the genus papillomavirus, of which certain types can cause genital warts.  Genital warts are painless bumps found in the genital and anal area.  A man can have symptoms in the urethral opening and a female may have warts on the soft surfaces of the inner labia, vagina, or the cervix.  Any person can have warts anally if sexual contact was in the rectal area.  May also be referred to as venereal or viral warts.

Intravenous Drug Use: Administering a drug into a vein, such risk is strongly associated with infection of HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. 

Jaundice: Yellowing of the skin and eyes, as may be seen with hepatitis.

Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS): An abnormal or cancerous proliferation of cells and blood and/or lymph vessels causing tumors on the skin, musous membranes and/or internal organs.  KS typically appears as pink or purple flat or raised lesions.

Lesion: A type of abnormality on the skin, sometimes in the form of red or white bump(s), blisters, or abrasions/breaks in the skin on or around the genital area of a male or female. 

Molluscum Contagiosum: White, waxy, painless bumps with a dimple in the center.  This bump can also become infected with bacteria from the skin and because of this may resemble a herpes ulceration.  This can be sexually transmitted although this isn't always the case.  Molluscum Contagiosum can clear up on its own, but will clear up faster when treatment is administered.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): An infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and /or ovaries in women.  Commonly caused by chlamydia, gonorrhea, or vaginal bacteria.  PID is a common cause of infertility in women.

Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate gland. 

Pubic Lice: Also know as crabs, caused by a tiny parasite called Phthirus Pubis.  Pubic Lice is often transmitted through sexual contact.  Symptoms can include genital or anal itching or irritation.  Nits can be visible and may appear as tiny white specks on the hair follicle.

Rash: An eruption of spots, splotches, or red or white lumps/bumps.

Safer sex: Sexual activity in which safeguards are used.  Using a condom is one safeguard which can be used to help protect a person from a sexually transmitted infection, although condoms cannot protect a person from all sexually transmitted diseases.

Scabies: A highly contagious skin infection caused by the mite Sarcopetes Scabei, a parasite that lives in and on the skin.  Symptoms of scabies infection usually appear as a series of tiny, wavy lines (burrows) and dots or tiny bumps that may look like blisters.  Treatment usually consists of applying a topical cream available through a prescription.  Sexual partners, those that have bodily contact, or share clothing and/or bedding should also be treated.

Syphilis: An infection caused by the bacterium Treponema Pallidum, usually transmitted through sexual exposure or from mother to child during pregnancy.  Although effective treatment is available, testing must be done to identify the need for treatment before major complications develop.

Urethritis: Infection of the urethra.

Vector: An organism, such as a fly or tick, that can transmit disease germs.

Venereal Disease (VD): Any of several contagious diseases, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts (HPV), hepatitis B, pubic lice, trichomoniasis and AIDS/HIV.  Contracted through sexual intercourse (oral, vaginal, anal).

Venereal Wart: see Human Papilloma Virus

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