List of Major sexually transmitted diseases and their causative agents

By Acharya Tankeshwar •  Updated: 05/04/22 •  2 min read

The number of sexually transmitted microorganisms (eg, bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites) and the spectrum of clinical syndromes or diseases associated with these agents are expanding with the nature of changing sexual orientations of people and increasing number of immunosuppressive population (people with HIV/AIDS, under immunosuppressive therapy, cancer conditions), etc.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

While developed countries have access to testing methods, many populations in developing countries do not have access to STI information, testing, or preventative measures.  Due to the asymptomatic nature of many STDs, those without this knowledge and access to medical testing and care, are at higher risk of contracting and transmitting these infections.

Multiple pathogens can cause one particular disease e.g. vaginitis can be caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, etc.

This blog post lists some of the selected sexually transmitted diseases and pathogens mostly associated with that particular disease.

DiseaseName of the etiological agent(s)
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Bacterial vaginosisGardnerella vaginalis
ChancroidHaemophilus ducreyi
Chlamydia trachomatis infections (such as cervicitis, urethritis, prepubertal vaginitis, proctitis, endometritis, etc)Chlamydia trachomatis
Chlamydial lymphogranulomaChlamydia trachomatis serovars L1, L2 and L3
Genital herpesHerpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)
GonorrheaNeisseria gonorrhoeae
Lymphogranuloma venereumC. trachomatis
Neonatal sepsis and meningitisStreptococcus agalactiae
Nongonococcal urethritisC. trachomatis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, or Trichomonas vaginalis
Pelvic inflammatory diseaseN. gonorrhoeae or C. trachomatis
SyphilisTreponema pallidum
Trichomoniasis Trichomonas vaginalis
Vulvovaginal candidiasisCandida albicans

Testing of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Laboratory diagnosis of some STIs require expensive technologies or the facilities of a specialist laboratory while others can be diagnosed at home or at district/general laboratories.

STIs like gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, candidiasis, G.vaginalis bacterial vaginosis, etc can be diagnosed using appropriate microscopy and staining techniques. Diseases like gonorrhea, chancroid can be diagnosed by culture using a selective enriched medium. Immunological methods (e.g. ELISA, ICT-based tests) are now available for the diagnosis of chlamydial infections, HIV, Genital herpes infection, syphilis, etc.  PCR and molecular technologies have also been developed to diagnose some STIs like HIV.

Acharya Tankeshwar

Hello, thank you for visiting my blog. I am Tankeshwar Acharya. Blogging is my passion. As an asst. professor, I am teaching microbiology and immunology to medical and nursing students at PAHS, Nepal. I have been working as a microbiologist at Patan hospital for more than 10 years.