STD Facts Sheets and Testing and Treatment Information

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman’s reproductive organs. Even though symptoms of Chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that cause irreversible damage, including infertility, can occur “silently” before a woman ever recognizes a problem. Chlamydia can cause discharge from the penis of an infected man. Read more.

Gonorrhea is a common STD, also known as “the clap” or “the drip.” Gonorrhea, caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrheae, is spread through contact with the mouth, vagina, penis, or anus of an infected person. Gonorrhea lives in warm, moist areas of the body, including the tube that carries urine out of the body (urethra). The bacteria can even survive in the throat and eyelids. In women, the bacteria can grow in the reproductive tract (fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix) and, if left untreated, can cause permanent reproductive damage, such as infertility. Read more.

Genital herpes is a STI that affects the skin or mucus membranes of a person’s mouth or genitals. It is caused by Herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can be spread through secretions from the mouth or genitals during sexual contact. Herpes causes sores, blisters, or rashes on an infected person’s skin (on the mouth, genitals, and rectum), which can become tender and painful. Around one in five adults in the United States has genital herpes. To date, there is no cure. Read more.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It is known as “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases. Read more.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. Some health effects caused by HPV can be prevented with vaccines. Read more.

Read more about other sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent STD infections.

STD Testing and Treatment

Confidential testing and counseling for the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia is available at health departments throughout Virginia. Early detection, referral, and treatment of STDs reduce the complications of these diseases. Testing is free and clients are counseled on strategies to reduce the risk of infection or re-infection.

Confidential Testing

In confidential testing situations, the client provides his or her name, but the results of the GYTtest are confidential. Although Virginia state law requires the names of people who test positive for STDs be reported to the health department, this information is for disease control purposes only. Local health departments and clinics throughout the state conduct confidential testing. There are over 100 confidential test sites in Virginia. For phone numbers, and local health department hours of operation and locations of confidential testing sites go to the list of local health departments.