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Sexual Awareness for Everyone (SAFE) study at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio

For more than 20 years, NIAID has funded the Sexual Awareness for Everyone (SAFE) study at The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio to reduce risky behaviors that often lead to STDs.

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

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STDs are an important global health priority because of their devastating impact on women and infants and their inter-relationships with HIV/AIDS. STDs and HIV are linked by biological interactions and because both infections occur in the same populations. Infection with certain STDs can increase the risk of getting and transmitting HIV as well as alter the way the disease progresses. In addition, STDs can cause long-term health problems, particularly in women and infants. Some of the health complications that arise from STDs include pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubal or ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer, and perinatal or congenital infections in infants born to infected mothers.

NIAID's Role in STD Research

NIAID supports research for more effective prevention and treatment approaches to control STDs. This includes:

  • Basic research on pathogenesis, immunity, and molecular and structural biology of sexually transmitted pathogens and the impact of STDs in various populations
  • Development of better and more rapid diagnostics
  • Research for safe and effective vaccines, topical microbicides, therapeutics, and strategies for preventing and treating STDs and their complications

In addition to its key research areas, NIAID addresses emerging issues related to STDs. For example, antimicrobial (drug) resistance has impeded the treatment of several STDs, most notably gonorrhea. NIAID supports research to better understand the mechanisms of resistance and discover alternate treatments.

Last Updated December 11, 2013