Viral STIs are caused by viruses passed from person-to-person during sexual activity.

Here is some information on some common viral STIs: HIV/AIDS, Genital Herpes and Genital Warts  


HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that, if left untreated, can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

HIV is treatable with medication, but not curable. If left untreated it can weaken a person’s immune system. Your immune system is a complex system that fights off infection and generally keeps you healthy. A person infected with HIV is said to be HIV-positive. There are two different types of HIV. HIV-1 Is the most common type found worldwide and HIV-2 is mainly found in Western Africa, with some cases also found in Europe and India.


Genital Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) which is from the same family of viruses that cause cold sores. There are two different types of Herpes – cold sores are generally caused by a type of Herpes Simplex Virus called HSV-1, and genital herpes is usually caused by type HSV-2. However, both types can infect the genital areas, causing painful sores.

There is no cure for genital herpes and often people will have recurring outbreaks. During these outbreaks the infected person will have sores and symptoms for a while, then the virus will go into a dormant stage and the person will have no symptoms again until the next outbreak. The number of outbreaks and the amount of time between outbreaks varies from person to person. Some people may have them frequently and others may have only one or two. It is still possible to transmit the virus during the dormant stages when a person has no symptoms.

Genital Warts

Genital warts is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). The human papillomavirus or HPV is one of the most common family of viruses in the world today.

HPV is also the world’s most common sexually transmitted infection and is transmitted by skin-to-skin (including sexual) contact. There are more than 100 types of HPV. HPV infects cells inside and outside of the body. These include surfaces of the skin, lining of the mouth, tongue, throat, tonsils, vagina, penis, cervix, and anus.

Most people who get HPV don’t have any signs or symptoms and may unknowingly spread the disease. The majority of genital warts are caused by HPV 6 and 11. HPV is not related to HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus, which can cause AIDS). However, people with HIV have weakened immune systems and are therefore likely to be infected with various germs, including one or more types of HPV.

Most infections do not need treatment because your body can clear the virus itself. But in some people, the HPV infection can develop into cancer or genital warts.

In women, genital warts can appear on the vulva, urethra, cervix, anus or thighs. In men, they can appear on the penis, scrotum, anus or thighs.

In girls, HPV infection can cause cancer of the: cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, throat, head and neck.

In boys, HPV infection can cause cancer of the: penis, anus, throat, head and neck.