Every year, almost 20 million adults in the United States contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Some of the most common ones don’t cause symptoms. But, they can still lead to serious health problems. Learning about STDs can help protect your health now and in the future.
Most common types of STDs:
HPV (Human papillomavirus infection)
There’s no cure for the virus and warts may go away on their own. Treatment focuses on removing the warts. A vaccine that prevents the HPV strains most likely to cause genital warts and cervical cancer is recommended for boys and girls.
Requires a medical diagnosis
Many people with HPV don't develop any symptoms but can still infect others through sexual contact. Symptoms may include warts on the genitals or surrounding skin.
Caused by the herpes simplex virus, the disease can affect both men and women. Pain, itching, and small sores appear first. They form ulcers and scabs. After initial infection, genital herpes lies dormant in the body. Symptoms can recur for years.
Treatment consists of antivirals and self care
Medications can be used to manage outbreaks.
Chlamydia affects people of all ages but is most common in young women. Many who have chlamydia don't develop symptoms, but they can still infect others through sexual contact. Symptoms may include genital pain and discharge from the vagina or penis.
Treatment consists of antibiotics
Antibiotic therapy for the affected patient and the patient's sexual partners is recommended. Screening for other common sexually transmitted infections should also be performed.
Regular screening can help detect instances when an infection is present despite having no symptoms. Symptoms include painful urination and abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina. Men may experience testicular pain and women may experience pain in the lower belly. In some cases, gonorrhea has no symptoms.
Treatment consists of antibiotics
Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics such as ceftriaxone, azithromycin, and doxycycline.
The virus can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. Within a few weeks of HIV infection, flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and fatigue can occur. Then the disease is usually asymptomatic until it progresses to AIDS. AIDS symptoms include weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue, and recurrent infections.
Treatment consists of HIV antivirals
No cure exists for AIDS, but strict adherence to anti-retroviral regimens (ARVs) can dramatically slow the disease's progress as well as prevent secondary infections and complications.
Who should get tested?
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HIV tests for all sexually active adults and pregnant women. Urine tests are available now for chlamydia and gonorrhea, making testing easier than ever before. Some doctors recommend regular testing for both infections if you fall into one of a few high-risk groups, but anyone can request these tests.
How are STD tests done?
It depends on which infection you may have. And some infections can be tested for in more than one way. Your test may include:
Blood and urine tests
Most STDs can be tested for using urine or blood samples. Your doctor can order urine or blood tests to check for:
Many doctors also use vaginal, cervical, or urethral swabs to check for STDs. If you’re female, they can use a cotton applicator to take vaginal and cervical swabs during a pelvic exam. If you’re male or female, they can use take urethral swabs by inserting a cotton applicator into your urethra. If you have anal sex, they may also take a rectal swab to check for infectious organisms in your rectum.
Some STDs, such as herpes and genital warts, can be diagnosed through a combination of physical examination and other tests. Your doctor can conduct a physical exam to look for sores, bumps, and other signs of STDs. They can also take samples from any questionable areas to send to a laboratory for testing.
When do I get the results?
Sometimes a diagnosis can be made based on your symptoms and/or a physical exam. Treatment could be prescribed right away. Other times, your doctor may need to send a sample to a lab to be tested. In that case, the results may not be available for several days or weeks.
Sunset Walk-In Healthcare is pleased to announce that we are accepting new General Practice patients at Sunset Walk-In Healthcare in West Hollywood, CA. New patients with Covered California and other PPO insurance plans who want Dr. Foster as their primary care physician [PCP] are always welcomed at Sunset Walk-In Healthcare! Let our friendly front desk know if you are registering as a General Practice new patient!