Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Some diseases are transmitted through sex. Examples include syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis and, of course, HIV.

Important: Some of these diseases can have serious consequences if not detected and treated early enough. For example, you may no longer be able to have children. HIV/AIDS is even life-threatening if left untreated.

However, you can protect yourself, and you can take medication. There are good methods for treating these diseases.

So see your doctor right away if you have any complaints – even if your symptoms disappear, because the disease can hide in the body and continue to cause serious damage.

You can receive free, anonymous testing at many public health offices. It’s important that your partner(s) also be tested and treated.

How can you get an STD?

If your partner is infected, the infection can be transmitted through sex. Pathogens are mainly found in:

  • blood
  • sperm
  • vaginal fluids
  • mucous membranes of the penis, vagina and intestine

This means that transmission can occur during sexual intercourse (penis inside the vagina or penis in the anus) or during oral sex (sex with the mouth).

An infected mother can pass on the infection to her child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.

People who use drugs can become infected through syringes or needles that other infected people have used.

With some STDs, infection can occur through contact with sores or blisters on other infected individuals. You can even get infected through kissing.

How can you tell if you’re infected?

Potential signs of a sexually transmitted disease (or infection) are:

  • yellowish and strong-smelling discharge from the vagina, penis or anus
  • pain during urination (peeing) or a bowel movement (pooping)
  • itching and burning in the genital areas
  • discolouration of urine (pee) or stool (poop)
  • changes in the skin, such as blisters, warts or boils


How can you protect yourself against STDs?

Condoms massively reduce the risk of infecting yourself with STDs. Avoid touching irritated skin or sores such as herpes blisters, and do not allow blood, semen (sperm), urine (pee), faeces (poop) or pus to enter your body. You can also be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B. Your health insurance will pay for the hepatitis B vaccination for babies, children (aged 9 to 18) and people with a higher risk of infection.

When injecting yourself with drugs, only use your own syringe and needles.


If you notice symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease (such as burning and itching in your crotch) see a doctor immediately.

Related Topics:

The Health Care System in Germany