There have been many thread hijakings of late that include information and misinformation about STDs. STDs are an important fact of life, and knowledge about them is very important in slowing their spread. This thread is intended as an informal, yet informative place to voice concerns and seek information about STDs. If someone attempts to hijak a thread that is not directly related to STDs please direct him/her here. Definition: An STD is any infectious matter that is primarily transmitted through sexual contact. Examples: HIV, Syphilis, Herpes, Gonorrhea, Pubic Lice (Crabs). Transmission: To be defined as an STD a contagion must be primarily spread through sexual contact. Vaginal and Anal penetration with a penis are the most common transmission acts. Oral contact with a Penis, Vagina, or Anus is the next riskiest set of behaviours, although significantly less risky than Vaginal or Anal penetration. Although uncommon, STDs can be transmitted through mutual masturbation and even cuddling. Most STDs also have secondary modes of transmission. Many STDs are blood-born pathogens, and can therefor be transmitted through blood to blood contact (such as through needle sharing). Pubic Lice may be transmitted by sharing clothing, or even sitting on a couch recently vacated by an infected individual. Risk Reduction: Reducing the risk of STD contraction is very important. Various methods are employed for reducing risk of various diseases. There is no 100% effective way to avoid STD contraction, including abstinence. The most common method of reducing risk is through the use of a condom. While condom use is very effective at reducing risk of many infections, it does not protect against common ailments such as Herpes, HPV, or Pubic Lice. Abstinence, another common method, does not protect against Pubic Lice or HPV (it is also possible, although not probable, to transmit Herpes through non-sexual means). Infection by many STDs increases the risk for infection by other STDs. It is important to note that infection by an STD does not predict a person's inclusion in any social or cultural group. Conversely, inclusion in a cultural or social group does not predict a person's infection with an STD. Homosexual and Heterosexual sex acts are equally risky behaviours.