STDs can have severe medical consequences, including death.
Untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory
disease, or PID, in women, which can lead to infertility or
chronic pain. PID can also cause ectopic pregnancy with subsequent
maternal death. Cervical cancer is closely associated with certain
types of HPV infection. This cancer is common and has high mortality
rates in many developing countries, where screening programs
for its early detection are limited.
Some STDs, such as herpes and syphilis, may affect pregnancy
outcome, causing spontaneous abortion, premature birth and stillbirth.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia can also affect the babies born to infected
women, causing eye infections and blindness. Syphilis, HIV and
herpes can be transmitted to newborns, potentially causing chronic
disease and death. In addition, herpes can lead to mental retardation
Some STDs, if untreated in men, can lead to infertility or
a narrowing of the urethra.
And, of course, HIV/AIDS is fatal.
STDs can also have severe social and economic consequences.
Women, especially in developing countries, may be blamed for
an STD or resulting infertility. This may lead to violence,
abandonment or divorce. STDs can also result in lost work time
due to illness.