5 Common STDs and How They're Treated

Recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that one in five people in the US have some type of sexually transmitted disease (STD). In 2018, an estimated 68 million had an STD, 26 million people got an STD that year, and of that group, one in two people were between 15-24. Protecting yourself from STDs means understanding how to protect yourself, what infections you’re likely to get, and how you can be treated.

For patients in Bakersfield, California, looking for treatment of STDs, help is available. Dr. Yadwinder Kang and First Choice Urgent Care offer decades of experience treating a wide range of preventable and urgent conditions.

STDs are the result of unprotected oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner. Many don’t show symptoms right away, and left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of other infections, or cause infertility and possibly organ damage. Unborn babies are also at risk of infection from their mother. Here are five common STDs you may be at risk for:

1. Gonorrhea

This condition is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae and targets warm, moist areas of the body. Signs of the infection often appear within 2-14 days, though some men don’t develop symptoms. 

Symptoms include burning or painful urination, pus-like discharge, testicle swelling, rectal pain, urinary urgency, heavier periods, spotting, sore throat, sharp abdominal pain, fever, and painful intercourse.

Left untreated, this can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), fallopian tube blockage, or infertility. Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics.

2. Chlamydia

This is another bacterial infection, and one that is very contagious. Not only can it be contracted during sex or just by touching genitals together, it can also reinfect people who have already been treated. Symptoms usually show up in one to three weeks and include lower abdominal pain, burning or painful urination, colored discharge, testicular pain, cervix inflammation (cervicitis), bleeding between periods, and painful intercourse. 

Left untreated, chlamydia can lead to PID, infertility, eye infections and pneumonia in newborns, epididymitis (an inflammation of the tube that keeps your testicles in place), and prostate gland infection. Antibiotics are also a common treatment, but you can be infected again after treatment.

3. Syphilis

Treponema pallidum is the bacterium responsible for the infection of syphilis, but unlike the other STDs, there are four stages of infection

This condition is infectious in its first two stages and, at that point, can be treated with penicillin, or similar antibiotics. At the last stage, antibiotics can get rid of the infection but may not help with the complications. 

4. Herpes

There are two types of the herpes simplex virus that can cause herpes: HSV-1 and HSV-2. The first causes oral herpes in the form of cold sores, and the second causes genital herpes. The virus gets into your body through your nose, mouth, and genitals, and can be found in bodily fluids (saliva, semen, vaginal secretions). Symptoms can appear between two days to a month after infection in the form of blisters on your genitals, anus, or buttocks. 

Herpes can be passed down to your child, and babies born with herpes can suffer terrible complications like blindness, brain damage, and even death. There is no cure for herpes, but there are antiviral medications to speed up the healing of the blisters and reduce pain.

5. Human papillomavirus (HPV)

This viral infection can be passed between people through sexual contact or even skin to skin contact. Many people don’t even realize they have it, as the infection doesn’t always cause symptoms. Symptoms may appear weeks or even years after you’ve been infected. It is common for the virus to go away on its own, but if it doesn’t it can cause genital warts, throat warts, genital lesions, and can even cause certain types of cancer (cervical, genital, head, neck, and throat). 

There are vaccines available to protect you from exposure to many types of HPV, that are safe for children and adults.

The best ways to prevent STDs is to get tested before having sex, use protection, and get regular screenings. If you think you may have an STD, make an appointment with Dr. Kang and First Choice Urgent Care today for treatment.

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