Sexually transmitted disease (STD) defines a type of disease or condition that is typically spread by sexual contact. The most common STD is considered to be chlamydia, which is also considered the most curable. In women, chlamydia typically infects the cervix, and in men, the disease usually affects the urethra. The urethra is the tube that transports urine from the bladder and has an opening in the end of the penis. A great deal of medical research has focused on the eradication of chlamydia, because it is considered the most common STD.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, there may be in excess of 3 million new cases of chlamydia each year. Chlamydia is often hard to detect because it typically does not cause sores or other symptoms that are visible. Victims may be infected with the disease for a long time without even realizing they have it.
Some of the symptoms of chlamydia include frequent and painful urination, abdominal discomfort, and slight fever. Some sufferers also may experience pain when having intercourse. In rare instances, men may experience some swelling of the testicles and a slight penile discharge. These symptoms do not occur in all instances, and many people experience no symptoms at all.
Failure to receive treatment for chlamydia can sometimes lead to serious and even life-threatening conditions. One of the most serious is ectopic pregnancy. Women who are infected with chlamydia and become pregnant are much more likely to suffer an ectopic pregnancy. This type of pregnancy may cause death, and termination may be necessary to save the life of the mother. Most studies suggest that an ectopic embryo would not be able to come to full term even if allowed to grow.
The most common STD treatment for chlamydia is antibiotics. Generally, patients are given antibiotic therapy for the first week, with follow-up testing scheduled to be sure the infection has been eliminated. If the infection is still present, the therapy is usually repeated. During treatment, sexual activity should be avoided because the condition is probably still active and contagious. Most of the time, people who have the condition will need to provide a history of their sexual partners so they can be contacted for treatment.
There is some debate as to whether chlamydia is in fact the most common STD. Some medical experts argue that genital warts are more common than chlamydia. This may be because in the methodology to determine how many people suffer from chlamydia, some estimation is required. The figures typically include an estimation of unreported cases.