I have a question about the relative ease of contracting an STD as
opposed to HIV. Are my chances easier or harder to contract an STD
rather than HIV. Any type of information will be greatly appreciated.
Hi. Thank you for your question.
This is actually a complicated question to
answer, since Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) are a group of diseases,
rather than just one disease. Some STD's are more easily transmitted than
The STD's that are most infectious are those that are transmitted by direct
physical contact (usually genital-to-genital, genital-to-anal, and
genital-to-oral contact). These diseases can include syphilis, chancroid,
herpes, genital warts (due to the HPV virus), and Molluscum Contagiosum.
There does not necessarily have to be intercourse for these diseases to be
transmitted. Lice and scabies can also be transmitted through sexual contact
(direct body-to-body contact), although these two diseases can also be
transmitted by non-sexual means.
There are other diseases that are easier to get than HIV, but usually involve
more intimate contact than those above. These include Chlamydia and
Gonorrhea. Intercourse (vaginal, anal, and oral) is usually required for
transmission of these infections to take place.
Relatively speaking, HIV is actually harder to get than many of the other
STD's. This is because the HIV virus must get directly into the bloodstream
in order for infection to take place. If it doesn't get into the
bloodstream, infection will not occur. There are diseases that are
transmitted the exact same way as HIV. These diseases include Hepatitis B,
Hepatitis C, and HTLV-I. Hepatitis B is however 100 times more infectious
than HIV (since it is in much higher concentrations in body fluids like the
blood). Hepatitis C is primarily transmitted by blood-to-blood contact, but
is also occasionally transmitted through sexual contact as well. HTLV-I
causes a type of leukemia, and is often confused with the HIV virus.
I have only named some of the major STD's out there in this question. There
are others as well. Keep in mind that some of these other STD's are also
incurable (like Genital Warts, Herpes, Hepatitis B etc.). Some are also
potentially life-threatening as well (like Syphilis, Hepatitis B, HTLV-I
etc.). Also some STD's are linked to various forms of cancer (Hepatitis B
can cause liver cancer, HPV can cause cervical and anal cancers, HTLV-I can
cause leukemia etc.). Therefore, everyone should avoid infection with all of
the STD's, not just HIV. Many of the STD's are actually much easier to get
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).