STDs: What Should I Know?

STD stands for sexually transmitted disease, and it spreads when people have sexual contact or exchange bodily fluids. This can happen through kissing or more intimate acts like vaginal, oral, or anal sex. But before we talk more about STDs, let’s understand STIs – are they different from or the same as STDs?
STI has become a more modern term used to replace STD, though they are essentially the same but have slightly different meanings. An STI, which stands for sexually transmitted infection, is what comes before an STD. As said before, these infections spread through sexual contact or an exchange of bodily fluids and often don’t cause any symptoms at first. However, if an STI progresses and starts causing symptoms or health problems, it’s then called a sexually transmitted disease, or STD.
Most Common Types of STDs
In both men and women, the most common types of STDs found are:
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Herpes
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis
Curable and Incurable STDs
Some STDs can’t be cured, but there are others that can be. Here are STDs from our list that can be cured and ones that can’t:

Curable STDs
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis
Incurable STDs
  • Hepatitis B
  • Herpes
  • HIV
  • HPV
  • Treatment for STDs
    Some STDs won’t turn into a disease if treated early, and some can even go away by themselves. The treatment you need depends on the type of STD you have. Here are proven treatments for the list above:

    HPV:Genital warts caused by HPV can be removed by freezing (cryosurgery) or burning (electrocautery) them off. Other treatments include laser therapy and prescription creams.

    HIV/AIDS:AIDS is the last stage of HIV. A treatment called Antiretroviral therapy (ART) helps keep HIV under control. ART involves taking a mix of medicines every day, which helps people with HIV live longer and stay healthier.

    Herpes:Oral and topical antiviral medications can reduce symptoms like cold sores around the mouth, genital sores, itching, and swollen lymph nodes. These medications can be taken by mouth or applied directly on the affected area.

    Hepatitis B:Oral antiviral medications or an injection can help lower the virus in your body. If the virus starts to cause liver issues or disease, then a liver transplant is suggested.
    The others, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis, can be treated with antibiotics.
    Who’s At Risk for STDs?
    While this may not always be the case, here are risk factors that may increase your chances of getting an STD:
  • Having more than one sex partner
  • Being sexually active with anonymous partners
  • Having unprotected anal, vaginal, or oral sex without a condom
  • Having a history of STDs
  • Sharing needles (injecting drugs)
  • Note: wearing a condom can help prevent some, but not all, STDs. Condoms are mainly helpful for protecting against STDs like chlamydia, which spread through genital fluids. However, condoms are not helpful in preventing STDs like genital herpes, which can be passed through skin contact.
    How to Protect Yourself Against STDs
    STDs are preventable by being careful. Stay safe by doing the following:

  • Use condoms during intercourse
  • Avoid having multiple sexual partners
  • Stay updated on or get vaccinated for STDs like HPV and Hepatitis B
  • Avoid sharing needles or syringes
  • Avoid unsafe sexual practices like unprotected anal intercourse
  • Remember, some STDs may not show symptoms at first, but once you notice any, it’s important to see a doctor right away. Taking action by getting help from a medical professional can help with treatment processes or finding ways to manage it.
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