STD Slang Terms: A Simple Guide

Have you ever heard an STD referred to by a nickname? There are many out there and it can sometimes be confusing as to which slang term applies to which STD. Here is a the first part of a simple guide to help you understand which terms apply to which infection and why



The Clam – This slang term is a shortened form of chlamydia. This term has been around for nearly a century and is still used commonly today.

Gooey Stuff – According to the urban dictionary, this is a common term for chlamydia as well. It is a direct reference to the thick, white discharge associated with chlamydia.



The Clap – Perhaps the most commonly used nickname for an STD, the Clap is a reference to gonorrhea. Dating back to French brothels, known as “clapier,” this nickname has a double meaning. It refers to the location in which it spread but also the pre-antibiotic treatment used to rid yourself of it. Long before modern medicine, a person would clap their penis between their hands in order squeeze out any pus or discharge.

The Drip – Another common name for gonorrhea, the Drip refers to the leaky discharge associated with the infection.



Bad Blood – This nickname for syphilis dates back to before medical treatment. The Tuskegee Syphilis experiment even used this term to attract patients. This experiment told male patients that they were being treated for “bad blood” when in reality, the U.S. government was studying the long-term effects of untreated syphilis on the human body.

The Great Imitator – Syphilis gained this nickname because it can mimic the symptoms of other infections. This trait allowed for many patients to be misdiagnosed in the early days of studying this disease.


Pubic Lice

Crabs – The nickname “Crabs” was applied to pubic lice because under a microscope, the live resemble the shape of large ocean crabs.

Crotch Critters – Crotch Critters directly refers to the live living in the genital region. This colorful nickname is very common in certain regions of the U.S.


STDs have had many unique names over the years. Some of them are colorful while others are straightforward. Many of these STDs earned these nicknames before treatments were created by modern medicine. Now, through modern STD testing these infections can be detected early. All of the STDs listed in this guide are curable with a round of antibiotics. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to one or more of these infections, you should get tested right away.


1 Urban Dictionary
2 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
3 Urban Thesaurus – Slang Terms for Venereal Diseases