Science: Reproduction: Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV or AIDS (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

These are the illnesses that are transmitted from one person to another during sexual contact and are known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) .

These infections may be transmitted during vaginal or anal intercourses, or genital skin contact. Gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, warts and chancroid are common STDs. Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) can also be transmitted through sexual contact.

  • Symptoms of STDs include,
  • Itching or soreness of genitals or anus
  • Blisters, sores, lump, rash in urogenital areas
  • Discolored discharge that may be foul smelling from vagina in females and penis in males
  • Pain during urination

Women may also complain of pain in lower back and abdomen.

STDs can be prevented by:

  • having one faithful sex partner
  • having safe sex with correct and consistent use of condoms


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) . HIV is a retro virus, i.e.. , its genetic material is RNA. It destroys vital cells of the immune system making the body vulnerable to several infectious agents. It infects T-lymphocytes and makes thousands of copies of the virus. HIV-infected individual may remain asymptomatic for 10 - 15 years.

HIV may be transmitted from one infected individual to another individual by the following mechanisms:

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Infected blood
  • Infected syringes and needles: Injection-drug users may acquire HIV through this route by sharing infected needles. Similarly, HIV may be transmitted if infected needles are used for tattooing, acupuncture
  • Infected mother to her baby in utero (in the womb) , during childbirth and through breast milk.

HIV Transmission Can be Prevented By

Having one faithful sex partner

Having safe sex with correct and consistent use of condom. In addition, HIV transmission can be prevented by:

  • Using sterilized needles for blood donation or transfusion or getting injections
  • Pregnant women infected with HIV should seek advice from medical practitioner on the safest mode of delivery and seek counselling regarding breast feeding the baby.

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