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The Most Common STDs & Their Treatment



If you are sexually active then you should understand the risks of sexually transmitted infections and diseases and the importance of safe sex. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one million sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STD/I) are acquired everyday worldwide. Since all sexually active persons are at risk for contracting an STD/I, it’s important to understand what the symptoms look like and how they can be treated. Particularly for women, it’s important to understand the risks of having an STD and giving birth. Keep reading to learn more about the five most common STD/Is and their treatments.


Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a common STD that can be easily treated. Many people do not have any noticeable symptoms of the infection, however, you can look out for abnormal vaginal discharge or any burning sensation when urinating. Chlamydia left untreated can cause fertility issues, so you should get tested regularly, particularly if you’re aware that you’ve come in contact with someone with the infection.


Your doctor may prescribe medicine to clear up your chlamydia infection. This may be a single dose of medication or a seven-day course. You should wait until you’ve taken all the doses, or wait seven days if it’s a single dose before you have sex again. When taken properly, your infection should clear up entirely.


Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is also a very common STD that can be treated pretty easily. Almost 50% of women infected with this STD do not notice any symptoms. However, those that do may notice a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods. For women, it is crucial to treat this infection especially if you are pregnant or plan to be. Without treatment, gonorrhoea can cause permanent blindness in a newborn baby. Women are also at risk for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or infertility from untreated gonorrhoea.


Typically, gonorrhoea is tested with a single antibiotic injection and a single antibiotic tablet. With effective treatment, most of your symptoms should improve within a few days. You may be advised to attend a follow-up appointment with your doctor a week or two after your treatment to conduct a second test confirming the infection is cleared. You should wait until you are certain you no longer have gonorrhoea before you have sex again.


Herpes

You may have oral or genital herpes, both can be transmitted via sexual acts. Some people may have herpes and not have any symptoms or very mild symptoms. They will still be able to pass the virus on to someone else, however. Oral herpes may look like cold sores or fever blisters on or around the mouth. Genital herpes may include pain or itching in the genital area, small red bumps or tiny white blisters, ulcers and scabs. During an initial outbreak, you may also experience flu-like symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes in your groin, headaches, muscle aches and/or fevers.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for herpes. This may mean that you’ll have several outbreaks over time. However, there are medications you can take to limit the severity and frequency of outbreaks and make the virus not transmissible to your sexual partner/s. This may include taking antiviral medication daily. You should avoid having sex when you notice that you are having an outbreak to ensure you do not pass the virus on to your partner.


If you have herpes and are pregnant there are few pregnancy safe medications that you may be given towards the end of your pregnancy to ensure you don’t have an outbreak while giving birth, as you may pass the virus on to your baby. Your doctor may, however, opt to have a cesarean section (c-section) to limit the risk of you passing it on.


Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is one of the most common STDs. This infection tends to be most common for women in their late teens and early twenties. If you do contract HPV, you may be at an increased risk for genital warts and certain cancers if you leave the virus untreated.


You can get HPV from having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who is infected with the virus. It may als