Several types of organisms cause STIs. Those caused by organisms such as bacteria generally can be cured. STIs caused by viruses generally cannot be cured, although they can be treated to relieve symptoms.

 

STI Type Sexual transmission Nonsexual transmission Curable?
Chancroid Bacterial Vaginal, anal, and oral sex None Yes
Chlamydia Bacterial Vaginal and anal sex
Rarely, from genitals to mouth
From mother to child during pregnancy Yes
Gonorrhea Bacterial Vaginal and anal sex, or contact between mouth and genitals From mother to child during pregnancy Yes
Hepatitis B Viral Vaginal and anal sex, or from penis to mouth In blood, from mother to child during delivery or in breast milk No
Herpes Viral Genital or oral contact with an ulcer, including vaginal and anal sex; also genital contact in area without ulcer From mother to child during pregnancy or delivery No
HIV Viral Vaginal and anal sex
Very rarely, oral sex
In blood, from mother to child during pregnancy or delivery or in breast milk No
Human papilloma-virus Viral Skin-to-skin and genital contact or contact between mouth and genitals From mother to child during delivery No
Syphilis Bacterial Genital or oral contact with an ulcer, including vaginal and anal sex From mother to child during pregnancy or delivery Yes
Trichomoniasis Parasite Vaginal, anal, and oral sex From mother to child during delivery Yes

More About HIV and AIDS

  • HIV is the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV slowly damages the body’s immune system, reducing its ability to fight other diseases.
  • People can live with HIV for many years without any signs or symptoms of infection. If not treated, however, eventually the body’s immune system breaks down and is unable to fight certain infections, known as opportunistic infections.
  • There is no cure for HIV infection, but antiretroviral (ARV) therapy can slow the progress of HIV disease, improve health, prolong life, and reduce the risk of transmission to others. ARVs also can reduce mother-to-child transmission at the time of delivery and during breastfeeding. Opportunistic infections can be
    treated.
  • People at high risk of exposure to HIV can take PrEP—preexposure prophylaxis—to prevent HIV infection. PrEP consists of some of the same ARV drugs also used to treat infection. Hormonal contraceptives and PrEP can be taken at the same time. The effectiveness of the contraception and of PrEP are not affected. Condom use while taking PrEP will help prevent both HIV and other STIs.
  • Family planning providers can help with prevention and treatment efforts for HIV, particularly in countries where many people are living with HIV, by:
    – Counseling about ways to reduce risk of infection (see Choosing a Dual Protection Strategy).
    – Counseling a couple that wants to have a child, and one partner has HIV, about how to conceive while trying to prevent HIV transmission to the uninfected partner (see box, next page).
    – Referring clients for HIV counseling and testing and for HIV care and treatment if the clinic does not offer such services.

For information on family planning methods for people living with HIV, see Contraceptives for Clients with STIs, including HIV.