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STD Dictionary: Letters N – Z

This is a continuation of our 2-part blog series. To read the first half, click here!

Your STD Dictionary


Neisseria is a group of bacteria that includes N. gonorrhoeae, also called the gonococcus. It is a cause of gonorrhea, an asymptomatic STD.

Oral Sex

Oral sex is the stimulation of the genitals using the mouth. Many people falsely believe that oral sex is a safe form of sexual activity with little STD risk, when in reality it can lead to several STDs, including chlamydia. It’s important that you realize the risks of oral sex and know how to safely practice it to reduce your likelihood of STD transmission.

Painful Urination

Also called dysuria, painful urination is a symptom of many STDs; as a result, many STDs are often misdiagnosed as UTIs. It is characterized by a burning sensation, pain, or discomfort that is experienced during urination. STDs that cause painful urination include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis.


A rash occurs when there is a change in the color, texture, or appearance of the skin. Rashes can be localized, meaning they only affect one area of the body, or they can occur all over the skin. Many STDs can result in rashes, including syphilis and herpes.


Syphilis is a bacterial STD that can cause long-term complications including blindness, dementia, and even death. Its symptoms include rash, sores, weight loss, muscle ache, fever, and headache.


Commonly called trich, this STD is caused by parasitic infection. Many people with trich are asymptomatic — around 70% — leaving them at risk for spreading the infection. Those with symptoms may experience itching, burning, soreness, painful urination, and unusual discharge.


The uterus, or womb, is the female sex organ that can be affected by STDs. Certain infections can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or PID. PID can lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancy, which can prove fatal.

Vaginal Discharge

While there is regular vaginal discharge that can help clean and moisten the vagina, certain STDs can cause irregular vaginal discharge, including trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is another symptom of many STDs, such as syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis A. Since this symptom is associated with other conditions, some people may have an STD and not know it.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections, which are characterized by itching and burning of the vagina along with unusual discharge, are common, impacting 75% of women. Perhaps because the condition is so common, STDs are often misdiagnosed as yeast infections.


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