Many sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) invade the host and reside for long periods of time without killing the host. A good example is syphilis, which may reside in its host for 30 to 50 years. HIV also can take 10 or more years to kill its host, allowing plenty of time to spread the infection.
Review Date 6/5/2018
Updated by: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.