5 Common STDS and How They're Treated

More than 2.5 million sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diagnosed every year in the United States, according to the CDC, and data show those rates of infection are on the rise. Fortunately, most STDs can be treated with medication. The key is seeking medical treatment as soon as possible.

At Desert Star Institute for Family Planning, DeShawn Taylor, MD, MSc, FACOG, offers compassionate, confidential STD treatment, along with regular screening to diagnose STDs as early as possible. Here, learn about five of the most common STDs, including their symptoms and how they’re treated.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a family of more than 100 viruses, and infection is so common that statistics show that most sexually active people will be infected at some point. The good news is that about 90% of HPV infections are cleared by the body’s immune system before symptoms even occur. 

The other 10% of infections persist, and over time, they can increase your risk of several types of cancer, including cervical, anal, vaginal, penile, vulvar, and throat cancers. While there is no cure or treatment for existing infections, there is an HPV vaccine that can help reduce the risk of getting infected. We may recommend additional tests or more frequent monitoring if you have an infection. 

Chlamydia

More than 1.6 million Americans are infected with chlamydia, another common STD that causes very few symptoms in its early stages. As the infection progresses, it can cause an unpleasant-smelling discharge from the penis or vagina, along with pelvic discomfort. Women can also experience spotting between periods or pain during sexual activity.

Women with chlamydia have a higher risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a chronic, painful condition that can lead to fertility problems. If you have chlamydia while pregnant, you may infect your developing baby, as well.

Fortunately, chlamydia responds well to antibiotic therapy. It’s essential to take antibiotics exactly as prescribed and the entire course of medication, even if symptoms go away before all the medication is gone.

Herpes

Herpes (also called herpes simplex virus or HSV) is another relatively common STD. Its hallmark symptom is sores or irritation around your lips (oral herpes) or, genitals (genital herpes) or both. It’s also possible to have an infection without showing any signs, which means you can become infected by someone with the virus even if they don’t have visible sores.

While there is currently no cure for HSV infection, therapies can reduce symptoms and related flare-ups or outbreaks. Treatment can also help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to your partner and help you stay healthy.

Gonorrhea

Nearly 650,000 Americans are infected with gonorrhea, according to the latest statistics from the CDC. Like the other STDs on this list, gonorrhea causes few or no noticeable symptoms in its earliest stages, making it difficult to detect without regular STD screening.

 

As the infection continues, it can cause symptoms like:

 

 

Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotic therapy, and as with chlamydia, it’s vital to take your antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Gonorrhea has demonstrated growing antibiotic resistance in recent years, and following your treatment closely is essential to ensure its effectiveness.

Syphilis

Syphilis infections have roughly doubled since 2018. Occurring in stages, the first sign of syphilis is a sore on or near your mouth, anus, or genitals. 

The second stage happens weeks later, causing a rash on your torso that often spreads to your limbs. You may have a headache, fever, or achiness similar to flu symptoms. In the third stage, the infection spreads to your organs, causing significant complications like blindness, dementia, and organ failure.

Fortunately, syphilis can also be successfully treated with antibiotics. Like other STDs, regular screening is the key to identifying the infection as early as possible.

Confidential testing and treatment

STDs are extremely common, affecting millions of people. Having regular STD screening helps diagnose infections in their earliest stages so you can take appropriate steps to treat or manage your infection for better health for you and your partner. 

Wondering if you need to be screened? The CDC recommends regular STD testing for all sexually active women, including moms-to-be. To schedule your STD screening or learn more about our treatments, request an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Taylor and the team at Desert Star Family Planning in Phoenix, Arizona, today.

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