Ask CDC - Diseases & Conditions

What is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) refers to infection of the:
  • Uterus (womb),
  • Fallopian tubes (the tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus), and
  • Other female reproductive organs.

PID is a serious complication (health problem) of some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), especially:

  • Chlamydia, and
  • Gonorrhea.

PID can permanently damage a woman’s reproductive organs. Untreated PID can lead to serious problems, such as:

  • Infertility (not being able to get pregnant),
  • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb),
  • Abscess (a pocket of pus) formation, and
  • Chronic (long-lasting) pelvic pain.

If you think you might have PID, see your doctor right away.

CDC Resources

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

CDC Publications

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – CDC Fact Sheet Cdc-pdf[PDF – 307 KB]

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015 Cdc-pdf[PDF – 7 MB]

What are the signs and symptoms of chlamydia?

Most people who are infected with chlamydia don’t have any symptoms. However, even if people with chlamydia don’t have symptoms at first, chlamydia infections can cause problems weeks to years later.

For women, symptoms might include:

  • an abnormal vaginal discharge,
  • a burning feeling when urinating,
  • lower abdominal (stomach) or back pain,
  • nausea,
  • pain during sex,
  • fever, or
  • bleeding between menstrual periods.

For men, symptoms might include:

  • discharge from the penis,
  • a burning feeling when urinating,
  • burning or itching around the opening of the penis, or
  • rarely, pain and swelling in the testicles.

The only sure way to keep from getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is to not have sex. If you’re having sex, you can lower your risk of getting STDs by having sex with only one partner, who:

  • has been tested,
  • doesn’t have an STD, and
  • is only having sex with you.

Also, latex condoms, when used the right way every time you have sex, are highly effective in preventing the spread of most STDs.

Sources

Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet

Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet PDF
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of STD Prevention Cdc-pdf[PDF – 500 KB]

Chlamydia
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of STD Prevention

What is gestational diabetes?
Picture of pregnant woman having sugar level tested by healthcare professional

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. This happens when the mother’s body cannot make enough of the hormone insulin during pregnancy. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells of your body for energy.

Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes require a treatment plan to help control blood sugar levels. Without treatment, gestational diabetes could lead to health problems for the mother and baby.

Having gestational diabetes can increase your risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy. It can also increase your risk of having a large baby that needs to be delivered by cesarean section (C-section).

If the mother’s blood sugar is not properly managed, the baby could be:

  • Born with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Born with breathing problems.
  • More likely to become overweight during childhood and adolescence.
  • More likely to have type 2 diabetes later in life.

Mothers with gestational diabetes can do a lot to help manage the condition:

  • Go to all prenatal appointments.
  • Check blood sugar often.
  • Eat healthy food in the right amounts at the right times.
  • Be active. Walking is a great way to stay active during pregnancy.
  • Talk to your doctor about how much weight you should gain for a healthy pregnancy.

Women who have had gestational diabetes have about a 50 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You can lower your risk by reaching a healthy body weight after delivery. Visit your doctor to have your blood sugar tested 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born and then every 1 to 3 years to make sure your levels are on target.

CDC Resources

Diabetes: Who’s at Risk?

Diabetes Fact Sheets

Diabetes Report Card 2017

External Resources

Gestational DiabetesExternal
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Gestational Diabetes MellitusExternal
American Diabetes Association

CDC Publications

Diabetes At-A-Glance, 2016 Cdc-pdf[PDF – 224 KB]

National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017 Cdc-pdf[PDF – 1.35 MB]

What can I do to prevent type 2 diabetes?

Your risk for type 2 diabetes increases if you have certain lifestyle factors, like being active less than 3 times a week and being overweight. The good news is type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with simple, lifestyle changes like increasing physical activity, eating healthier, and losing a small amount of weight if you’re overweight. A small amount of weight means 5 to 7% of your total body weight—that’s just 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.

A lifestyle change program offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you make those changes—and make them stick. Through the program, you can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58% (71% if you’re over age 60).

Highlights include:

  • Working with a trained coach to make realistic, lasting lifestyle changes.
  • Discovering how to eat healthy and add more physical activity into your day.
  • Finding out how to manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can slow your progress.
  • Getting support from people with similar goals and challenges.

Ask your doctor or nurse if there’s a CDC-recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program offered in your community, or you can find a class location on our website. The best time to prevent type 2 diabetes is now.

CDC Publications

Prediabetes

National Diabetes Prevention Program

National Diabetes Education Program

CDC Resources

Diabetes At-A-Glance Cdc-pdf[PDF – 224 KB]

External Resources

Preventing Type 2 DiabetesExternal
U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetic and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 DiabetesExternal
U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetic and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

I have symptoms and want to know if I have a disease. What do my symptoms mean?
Image of two healthcare professionals and patient, sitting at a table, with clipboards

CDC-INFO does not give personal medical advice. If you are concerned you have a disease or condition, talk to your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, we can help you find a clinic or other healthcare provider in your areaExternal.

If you have questions about a specific disease or medical condition, we can give you general information. You can also visit the CDC website for a list of topics covered, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO to be connected to an agent (during normal business hours).

External Resources

Find a Health CenterExternal

How is the hepatitis C virus spread?

The hepatitis C virus is most often spread when blood from a person who has hepatitis C enters the body of a person who is not infected. Many people got infected many years ago before widespread screening of the blood supply for the virus was possible. Today, most people who get infected become infected by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs.

People can also get infected with hepatitis C if they:

  • Have had a blood transfusion or organ transplant prior to 1992, or
  • Get a needle stick injury from an infected person.

Although rare, hepatitis C can also be spread by having sex with an infected person, or an infected pregnant woman can sometimes give it to her baby at birth.

If you are worried you may have hepatitis C, talk to your healthcare provider. Your doctor can help you find out if you have the virus. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call your state or local health departmentExternal.

CDC Publications

Hepatitis C: General Information, June 2010 Cdc-pdf[PDF – 563 KB]

The ABCs of Hepatitis, June 2010 Cdc-pdf[PDF – 609 KB]

CDC Resources

Hepatitis C FAQs for the Public

External Resources

Hepatitis C FAQsExternal
United States National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

American Liver FoundationExternal

American Association for the Study of Liver DiseasesExternal

What is human papillomavirus (HPV)?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S. Nearly 80 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV. You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex.

Most people never know they have HPV, because there are usually no visible signs or symptoms. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not causes health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and certain types of cancer.

HPV shouldn’t be confused with HSV (herpes) or HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Although all of these viruses can be passed on during sex, they cause different symptoms and health problems.

You can do several things to lower your chances of getting HPV or cancers caused by HPV:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Get screened for cervical cancer.

If you are sexually active:

  • Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
  • Be in a mutually monogamous relationship.

CDC Resources

Genital HPV Infection: Fact Sheet

HPV

HPV Vaccination & Cancer Prevention

Can human papillomavirus (HPV) be treated or cured?

There is no treatment for the virus itself. However, there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause:

  • Genital warts can be treated by your healthcare provider or with prescription medication. If left untreated, genital warts may go away, stay the same, or grow in size or number.
  • Cervical precancer (cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer) can be treated. Women who get routine Pap tests and follow up as needed can identify problems before cancer develops. Prevention is always better than treatment. For more information, visit CDC’s HPV and Cancer Website.
  • Other HPV-related cancers are also more treatable when diagnosed and treated early. For more information, visit CDC’s HPV and Cancer Website.

If you think you might have one of these conditions, see your healthcare provider to discuss evaluation and potential treatment.

HPV vaccine provides safe, effective, and lasting protection against the HPV infections that most commonly cause cancer.

CDC Resources

Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet

HPV

HPV Vaccination & Cancer Prevention

2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines – HPV

2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines – Anogenital Warts

How does someone get genital human papillomavirus (HPV)?

You can get  human papillomavirus (HPV) by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.

Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected. This makes it hard to know when you first became infected. Very rarely, a pregnant woman with genital HPV can pass the virus to her baby during delivery.

You can do several things to lower your chances of getting HPV or cancers caused by HPV:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Get screened for cervical cancer.

If you are sexually active:

  • Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
  • Be in a mutually monogamous relationship.

CDC Resources

Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet

HPV

HPV Vaccination & Cancer Prevention

What are the signs and symptoms of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection?

In most cases, human papillomavirus (HPV) goes away on its own and doesn’t cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer.

Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. A healthcare provider can usually diagnose warts by looking at the genital area.

HPV cancers include cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, and anus. HPV infection can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils.

The best way to prevent HPV infection and disease is to get the HPV vaccine. HPV vaccine is routinely recommended for girls and boys at age 11 or 12, the same age the Tdap and meningococcal conjugate vaccines are recommended for preteens. HPV vaccination can be given starting at age 9 years, the earliest age at which the vaccine is licensed for use. Teens and young adults who haven’t started the HPV vaccine series should talk to their doctor about getting it now.

If you are sexually active, using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex can help lower your chances of getting HPV. However, HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom, so condoms may not fully protect against getting HPV.

CDC Resources

Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet

HPV

HPV and Cancer

How long does human papillomavirus (HPV) infection last?

Most of the time, genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection:

  • Only lasts a short time, and
  • Doesn’t cause symptoms.

In fact, studies have shown that in most cases, HPV goes away on its own within 2 years and does not cause any health problems.

In some cases, though, HPV can last longer. When some types of HPV last a long time (persist), they can lead to health problems, such as genital warts or cancer.

CDC Resources

Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet

HPV Information, Statistics and Treatment

HPV

What are the signs and symptoms of genital herpes?

Most people with genital herpes don’t know they are infected because they do not have any symptoms.

If symptoms do occur, they usually appear within 2 weeks after being exposed. Most of the time, symptoms of genital herpes appear as one or more painful blisters on or around the genital area or rectum.  The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers or sores that may take 2 to 4 weeks to heal the first time they occur.

Other signs and symptoms during the first outbreak may include:

  • A second crop of sores, or
  • Flu-like signs and symptoms, including fever, headache, and swollen glands.

Outbreaks can happen again weeks or months after the first, but they’re usually shorter and less severe than the first outbreak. Although the infection stays in the body forever, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years.  If you think you might have herpes, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you get tested.

The only way to be completely sure you won’t get genital herpes is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can lower your chances of getting herpes by being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have herpes, and by using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.

Herpes symptoms can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered by a latex condom. But keep in mind that outbreaks can also occur in areas not covered by a condom, so condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

CDC Resources

Genital Herpes

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

How is genital herpes diagnosed?

There are several ways your doctor can determine whether you have herpes. Sometimes, your doctor can diagnose herpes just by looking at your symptoms.

But the only way to tell for sure if you’re infected with herpes simplex virus (HSV) is to get tested. There are two ways to get tested:

  • If you have a herpes sore, your doctor can take a sample from the sore, or
  • Your doctor can order herpes blood tests.

Results from the initial blood test aren’t always clear, and a re-test 3 to 4 months later may be needed. Herpes blood tests may be useful, especially if:

  • You have had symptoms before, but don’t currently have a blister or sore to be cultured, or
  • You have a partner who has genital herpes.

If you’re worried you might have herpes, see your doctor. Your doctor can discuss herpes testing options and may have an easier time diagnosing genital herpes if you’re seen as soon as you get a sore.

Home herpes blood tests are not available. Also, there is no herpes test available that can tell if a herpes infection in one person came from another specific person.

CDC Resources

Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes Screening FAQ

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015: Genital HSV Infections

How can genital herpes be prevented?

The only way to be sure to avoid getting genital herpes is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting herpes:

  • Only have sex with 1 partner who has tested negative for herpes,
  • Use latex condoms the right way every time you have vaginal or anal sex, and
  • Use a condom, dental dam or other barrier method every time you have oral sex.

Keep in mind that herpes symptoms can also occur in areas that are not covered by a condom, so condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

If you have herpes, you should tell your sex partner(s) and let him or her know the risk involved. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.

While there is no cure for herpes, there is a herpes medicine that can be taken daily and makes it less likely that you will pass the infection on to your sex partner(s).

CDC Resources

Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes Screening FAQs

STD Risk and Oral Sex Fact Sheet

Condom Effectiveness

How is oral herpes spread?

Oral herpes causes sores on or around the mouth and lips. These sores are often called cold sores or fever blisters.

More than half of the population in the U.S. has oral herpes. Yet, most people don’t know they have it because they don’t show any signs or symptoms.

Oral herpes is spread through direct contact between an infected and uninfected person. Most people are infected with oral herpes during childhood from nonsexual contact. For example, a person can get infected from a kiss from a relative or friend.

Oral herpes can also be spread from the mouth to the genitals through oral sex. Rarely, people may get oral herpes after giving oral sex to someone who has genital herpes.

Herpes can be released even when skin does not have any sores. Whether or not symptoms are present, herpes can be spread through

  • contact with skin,
  • mucous membrane tissue (soft, moist areas just inside the body’s opening), or
  • oral or genital secretions where the virus is present.

Using a barrier such as a dental dam or condom when performing oral sex can reduce the risk of spreading or getting oral herpes, even when no oral herpes symptoms are present.

People who have active lesions on or around their mouth or who have tingling sensations before lesions appear should avoid kissing others or giving oral sex to a partner. Also, people should not receive oral sex from a partner who is showing these symptoms.

CDC Resources

Genital Herpes
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of STD Prevention

Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of STD Prevention

STD Risk and Oral Sex – CDC Fact Sheet

External Resources

Oral Herpes
American Sexual Health AssociationExternal

What are the signs and symptoms of HIV?

Some people may feel like they have the flu after they get HIV. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Mouth ulcers

These symptoms may start 2 to 4 weeks after getting HIV. This stage of HIV is called acute HIV infection.

Not everyone who gets HIV feels sick, and just because you have these symptoms does not mean you have HIV. It could be something else, like the flu.

If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV in the past 3 days (72 hours), you should talk to a healthcare provider right away about post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP. PEP means taking HIV medicine after potentially being exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.

PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure, but the sooner you start PEP, the better. Every hour counts. If you’re prescribed PEP, you’ll need to take it for 28 days. Some emergency rooms also provide PEP.

The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. If you may have been exposed to HIV, visit your healthcare provider, local clinic, or an organization that provides HIV testing as soon as possible.

If you need help finding a testing site near you:

You can also get a home testing kit from a drugstore or online. There are two FDA-approved home tests:

  • The Home Access HIV-1 Test System and
  • The OraQuick HIV Test.

CDC Resources

HIV Basics: How do I know if I have HIV?

HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA)

HIV Basics

HIV Risk and Prevention

HIV/AIDS

What is bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition caused by an imbalance of “good” and harmful bacteria that are normally found in a woman’s vagina. It’s the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15-44.

Researchers do not know the cause of BV or how some women get it. We do know that the infection typically occurs in sexually active women. The following basic prevention steps may help lower your risk of developing BV:

  • Not having sex,
  • Limiting your number of sex partners, and
  • Not douching

CDC Resources

Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC Fact Sheet

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

How should bacterial vaginosis (BV) be treated?

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) will sometimes go away without treatment. But if you have symptoms of BV, you should be checked and treated. It is important that you take all of the medicine prescribed to you, even if your symptoms go away before you finish it.

A healthcare provider can treat BV with antibiotics, but BV may return even after treatment. Treatment may also reduce the risk for some STDs.

Male sex partners of women diagnosed with BV generally do not need to be treated. BV may be transferred between female sex partners.

CDC Resources

Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC Fact Sheet

2015 STD Treatment Guidelines – Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Does CDC offer information on eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia?

For information on eating disorders, you can visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) WebsiteExternal. NIMH is a great resource to learn about different types of eating disorders, signs and symptoms, treatment options, mental health research, resources, and more.

CDC does not provide information specifically about eating disorders (such as anorexia and bulimia), but does offer resources on good nutrition and physical activity through the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO).

Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses. They can cause many physical health problems, including heart disease or kidney failure, which can lead to death.

If you think you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, see your doctor right away.

External Resources

Nutrition and Health IssuesExternal

National Institute of Mental Health, Eating Disorders External

National Institute of Mental Health, Eating Disorders: About More Than FoodExternal

Women’s Health, Anorexia NervosaExternal

Women’s Health, Binge EatingExternal

Women’s Health, Bulimia NervosaExternal

Eating Disorders: HealthFinder.govExternal

Can I get HIV from oral sex?

There’s little to no risk of getting HIV from oral sex. But, you can get other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections from oral sex.

Though the chance of getting HIV from oral sex is extremely low, there are a few factors that could increase this risk slightly, such as

  • ejaculation in the mouth if the mouth has open sores or bleeding gums,
  • sores on the genitals, and
  • the presence of other STDs, which may or may not be visible.

You can lower your risk of getting HIV even more by using a condom the right way every time you have sex. Using a condom can also protect you and your partner from some other STDs.

The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. If you need help finding a testing site near you,

You can also get a home testing kit from a drugstore or online. There are 2 FDA-approved home tests:

  • The Home Access HIV-1 Test System and the
  • OraQuick HIV Test.

CDC Resources

Oral Sex and HIV Risk
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/oralsex.html

HIV Transmission
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/transmission.html

HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA)
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
https://wwwn.cdc.gov/hivrisk/

External Resources

AIDSinfo
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health
1-800-HIV-0440 (1-800-448-0440)
https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/External

Page last reviewed: October 17, 2018