• The abbreviation STD stands for 'sexually transmitted disease'
  • STDs are often caused by a virus or bacteria and are passed on through sex without a condom
  • STDs can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as a burning sensation when urinating, yellow/green or clear discharge and (genital) warts. They can, however, also occur without any symptoms
  • Every year, more than 100,000 STDs are diagnosed in the Netherlands
  • Young people, men who have sex with men and people with several different bed partners are more likely to contract an STD




STDs are a sexually transmitted diseases caused by a bacteria or virus. You can get this bacteria or virus by having sex without a condom. During sex without a condom, there is contact between the penis, vagina, anus or mouth. These bacterias or virusses can be manifested in mucous membranes and can be spread through exchanges of semen, blood, pre-cum or vaginal fluids.

In addition, some STDs can also be transmitted through the mouth, through the hands or through a vibrator or dildo. Per STD, it differs how it is transmitted and how much chance you have of contracting the STD. The most common STDs are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Genital warts, Hepatitis B and C and Syphilis.

If you have an STD, you have a greater chance of contracting HIV as well.


Many people have no symptoms of an STD and can therefore pass the STD on to someone else without noticing it.

Symptoms that occur in both men and women with an STD are:
A burning sensation when urinating, discharge from the vagina, penis or anus and warts in the genital area. The discharge may be yellow-greenish or clear in color.

There are several complaints that are gender-based. Women, for example, may experience abdominal pain or bleeding after intercourse or between menstrual periods. Men can experience a swollen or red scrotum.

Risk Group

More than 100,000 STDs are diagnosed every year in the Netherlands. Sometimes someone has several STDs at the same time. This can also occur with an HIV infection. Certain groups of people have a greater chance of contracting an STD. This group also has a higher chance of getting an HIV infection.
The risk group exists of young people under the age of 25, people who have sex without a condom with various bed partners, men who have sex with men, sex workers, visitors to sex workers and migrants from areas where STDs are more common. If your bed partner belongs to one of these groups, you also have a greater chance of contracting an STD.


HIV is also an STD and, like other STDs, is transmitted during unprotected sex. You can also get HIV through blood-blood contact. Mothers can also pass HIV on to their child during pregnancy, childbirth or through breastfeeding.
Men who have sex with other men have a greater chance of contracting HIV, because the mucous membrane of the anus is vulnerable. During sex, small tears can appear in the mucous membrane, making it easier for the HIV virus to enter the body.

STDs are an indicator condtion for HIV, because when contracting an STD, you also have a (small) risk of contracting HIV. In addition, people with an STD have more sensitive mucous membranes. This allows the HIV virus to penetrate more easily into the penis, vagina or anus and can therefore cause an HIV infection more quickly.

The different types of STDs



Chlamydia is the most common STD in the Netherlands. In 2019, about 64,000 times chlamydia was diagnosed by a general practitioner or center for sexual health.

Condyloma acuminatum

(Genital Warts)
In 2019, condylomata acuminatum was detected about 46,000 times. More than half of people with genital warts are male.


In 2019, gonorrhea was diagnosed more than 19,000 times. 77% of people who have a gonorrhea infection are men who have sex with other men.

Hepatitis B and C

In 2019, acute hepatitis B was diagnosed 108 times and acute hepatitis C was diagnosed 43 times. 57% of acute hepatitis B infections are transmitted through sexual contact. This is even 74% in acute hepatitis C.


In 2019, syphilis was diagnosed about 1,500 times in the Netherlands. 96% of these are men who have sex with other men.
 HIV indicator conditions are conditions or symptoms that occur more often in people with an underlying HIV infection than in people without an HIV infection. STD's are some of the HIV indicator conditions. If you have or have had an STD and have not been tested for HIV, you may ask your doctor or general practitioner for an HIV test. Find it difficult to ask for an HIV test? You may download a call card that will help you formulate your question.