An STD is a sexually transmitted disease, or Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). The goal is to learn some facts, and then decide what you want to do. We hope you decide to Develop Individual Values, Attitudes and Skills to make sure you seek medical care, testing, protect your self, and enjoy the very best health.

It is estimated that over 65 million people are living with an incurable sexually transmitted infection, and an additional 15 million people become infected with one or more STI's every year. Some predict that by age 24, approximately one in three sexually active people will have contracted an STD. This prediction does not have to include you. This website intends to empower DIVAS to maintain their sexual health.

Overall, women tend to be more susceptible to gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV. Although STDs like Chlamydia, HPV, and herpes are widespread across racial and ethnic groups, STD rates tend to be higher among African Americans than White Americans. For example, in 2003, African Americans were 20 times as likely as Whites to have gonorrhea (CDC, 2001). This website was created to change these statistics. And, change begins with you.

Women must take steps to ensure they enjoy good health. This includes increasing your knowledge about STIs so you can decide what you value and what your attitude is about your health and sexual relationships. Once you have this knowledge, you can make regular medical and gynecological exams a part of your health. You can also further develop your communication skills and talk to your partner about going for VOLUNTARY TESTING AND COUNSELING (VCT) for STDs/STIs, and using CONDOMS EVERY TIME YOU HAVE SEX. This means also developing the skill of negotiating condom use with your partner--an absolutely vital skill. Negotiating condom use simply means asking your partner to use a condom every time and sticking to that goal. We want all DIVAS to feel empowered to ask for consistent condom use!
"PLEASE WEAR A GLOVE (condom)." (or NO love!) ( see Role Play # 1 or Video # 17)


The Infection (STI) What is it? What are the Syptoms? How does a person get it? How is it Treated? How common is it?

(I want to watch the video on Chlamydia)

A common sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterium, which can damage a woman's reproductive organs Chlamydia is known as a "silent" disease because 75% of women that become infected do not have any symptoms.

In those that have symptoms they may include an abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating
Chlamydia is transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia from their partner during sexual intercourse, especially if it is unprotected

Chlamydia can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal childbirth
A visit to a clinician can diagnose Chlamydia through a gynecological exam

Chlamydia can be cured by the infected person taking antibiotics as prescribed by the diagnosing clinician

If left untreated, the infection spreads to other parts of the reproductive organs and may cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID may cause sterility in women and rarely men
2 million people currently infected in the U.S. and 3 million new cases every year

Chlamydia is the most common reported infectious disease in the United States

Women infected with Chlamydia are three to five times more likely to become infected with HIV, if exposed

Watch the Chlamydia video to learn more.

(I want to watch the video on Gonorrhea)
Caused by a bacterium, which can only survive in the mucouse membranes of the body. These areas are the vagina, penis, mouth , throat, rectum, urethra, and the eyes. In women the symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild, but most women who are infected have no symptoms.

Some men may have no symptoms, but men tht do will experience a burning sensation while urinating, or q white, yellow or green discharge from the penis.
Gonorrhea is spread through contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus.

Ejaculation does not have to occur for gonorrhea to be transmitted or acquired.

Any sexually active person can be infected with gonorrhea from their partner during sexual intercourse, especially if it is unprotected

Gonorrhea can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal childbirth
Several antibiotics can successfully cure gonorrhea

If left untreated, the infection spreads to other parts of the reproductive organs and may cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID may cause sterility in women and rarely men


An estimated 650,000 cases of gonorrhea occur each year in the United States

African Americans were 20 times as likely as Whites to have gonorrhea

Watch the Gonorrhea video to learn more.

(I want to watch the video on TRICH)
Trichomoniasis is caused by a single-celled protozoan parasite


Most men with trichomoniasis do not have signs or symptoms.

The symptoms in women include a frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong "fishy" odor
The trichomonas parasite is transmitted through penis-to-vagina intercourse

Any sexually active person can be infected with Trichomoniasis from their partner during sexual intercourse, especially if it is unprotected
Trichomoniasis can ususally be cured with the prescription medication, metronidazole.

This medication can either be taken by mouth or inserted in the vagina

Having Trichomoniasis once, does not protect a person from getting it again
7.4 million new cases occur each year in women and men

Watch the Trichomoniasis video to learn more.

(I want to watch the video on HPV)
HPV is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different strains or types. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of hte penis, vulva, anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum.

Some of these viruses are called high-risk types and may cause abnormal Pap Tests, they may also lead to cancer of the cervix
Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms.

Some of these viruses may cause genital warts to appear.

Genital warts are single or multiple growths or bumps that appear in the genital area
The types of HPV that infect the genital area are spread primarily through genital contact There is no cure for HPV infection

The treatment that is provided is to remove the warts or to remove the pre-cancerous changes in the cervix
Approximately 20 illion people are currently infected with HPV

By age 50 at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection

About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year

Watch the HPV video to learn more.

(I want to watch the video on Herpes)
Most genital herpes is caused by the HSV-2 virus. HSV-1 is the herpes virus that causes "cold sores" or "fever blisters" on the mouth.

A person may get HSV-1 genitally through oral sex.
Most people with genital herpes are not aware of their infection

However, when signs or symptoms occur they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum.
This is called an "outbreak" These outbreaks will occur periodically in the infected person, for the rest of their life

The infection stays in the body indefinitely but the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years

The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur
HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be found and released from the sores the virus cause,but they also are released between outbreaks from the skin that does not appear to be broken or to have a sore

The virus is transmitted by sexual contact with an infected person

Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected
There is no cure for herpes, but there are antiviral medications that can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. Nationwide, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five adolescents and adults have genital herpes infection

Watch the Herpes video to learn more.


(Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/Acquired Immuno-deficiency Syndrome)
(I want to watch the video on HIV)

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS After a person is infected with HIV they may not have any symptoms for years

When a person becomes symptomatic, they may experience an opportunistic infection (for example, PCP pneumonia)
HIV is transmitted through four fluids from an infected person: blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breastmilk

These fluids from an infected person can get into another persons body through contact with blood, or via anal, vaginal or oral sex. And, a mother can pass the virus to her baby through vaginal delivery or breastfeeding

There is no cure for HIV, but there are medications that can help a person live longer. In the United States we call the commonly use combination of medications for HIV HAART--or highly active antiretroviral therapy. In some other countries, instead of HAART, the term ARV (anti-retroviral) medication is used. Examples of these medications include AZT (zidovudine), Crixivan (a protease inhibitor), and many others etc...



Through December 2000, the CDC had received reports of 774,467 AIDS cases- of those, 292,522 cases occurred among African Americans

Representing only an estimated 12% of the total U.S. population, African Americans make up almost 38% of all AIDS cases reported in this country.

The 2000 rate of reported AIDS cases among African Americans was 58.1 per 100,000 population, more than 2 times the rate for Hispanics and 8 times the rate for Whites.

Among young people (ages 13-24), 65% of the HIV diagnoses were among African Americans.

In the HIV video I share the latest statistics released by the CDC in 2003. Watch the HIV video to learn more.