During the last decade, the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic complaints has become increasingly complicated. Among the contributing factors is the recognition of a spectrum of STD-associated arthropathies. The risks for other types of infectious arthritis have also increased with the greater prevalence of immune deficiencies, intravenous drug abuse, expanded use of prosthetic joints, and the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens. As a result, primary care clinicians need to consider a broader range of underlying causes and precipitating factors for arthritic complaints, especially in young adults. This paper provides an update on the epidemiology and symptomatology of STD-associated arthritides and discusses nonsexually transmitted causes of rheumatic complaints such as septic arthritis and Lyme disease.