- Medically reviewed by Dr Andrea Pinto Lopez, M.D.
We talk a lot about STD testing, but today we want to dive into STD treatment, including how the most common sexually transmitted diseases are treated.
What is the most common STD treatment?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are commonly treated via different types of medications including:
- Antiviral drugs
Antibiotics may either be taken in a single dose or a course of antibiotics may be prescribed.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial and parasitic infections. If you are being treated with antibiotics, it is important to take the entire dose even if you start to feel better before finishing your prescription, or the infection may not be fully cleared. Not taking your antibiotics properly can also lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant microbes. Antibiotics are used to treat STDs such as:
- Bacterial Vaginosis
While being treated with antibiotics, it is essential that you abstain from sex during treatment, and 7 days after your last day of treatment. Even if you’re receiving treatment, you could still infect a new partner, or pass the infection back and forth with another infected partner.
More so, if you have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, it’s important that you have an open and honest conversation with previous sexual partners so they can be tested too.
Following treatment, it is recommended that you get retested, as the risk of reinfection is higher in the three months after having an STD. This is especially true in women.
Antiviral drugs are used to treat viral STDs. While bacterial and parasitic STDs can be treated and cured, viral STDs can be controlled, but not cured.
This includes STDs such as:
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HIV can be treated with antiviral medicine that prevents the virus from being transmitted from the person living with it outwards. People who are diagnosed with HIV can live a long and healthy life while taking antiviral medication.
Herpes 1&2 can be managed with antiviral medications that reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks. Treatment can help manage symptoms and lower the volume of flare ups you experience.
Hepatitis B&C can cause liver damage if it isn’t detected early, which is why regular screening is so important. Treatment for hepatitis B & C will depend on a number of factors, but once treatment commences, those living with hepatitis B and/or C can live a long and happy life. While some cases of hepatitis go away on their own, others can become chronic.
HPV has no cure. Getting vaccinated is the best prevention when it comes to your chances of infection. Benign strains of HPV can be rectified by the body’s immune system over a couple of years, but there’s no way to predict who will be able to clear the infection and who won’t. Warts caused by HPV can be managed by topical medications that ease irritation.
If you have been diagnosed with an STD:
- Do not have sexual contact while waiting for your treatment plan.
- Do not douche unless instructed to do so by your health professional. Douching may flush an infection up into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
**How are the most common STDs treated? **
- Chlamydia: antibiotics
- Gonorrhea: antibiotics
- Syphilis: antibiotics
- Hepatitis: depends on the severity of the condition
- HIV 1& 2: antiviral medications
- Herpes 1 & 2: antiviral medications
- HPV: laser, cryotherapy, surgical excision, and electrocautery.
- Trichomoniasis: antibiotics
- Mycoplasma: antibiotics
- Bacterial vaginosis: antibiotics
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Can STDs go away without treatment?
While the symptoms of STDs may subside (go away), most STDs won’t go away on their own! And while your immune system can clear some STDs (such as HPV) in some cases, it’s impossible to predict if this will be the case, or if you will develop complications over time. It is so important to seek out testing and treatment if you think you have a sexually transmitted disease to avoid the risk of further health complications.
Health complications of STDs may include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disorder
- Tubal or ectopic pregnancy
- Cervical cancer
- Perinatal or congenital infections in infants born to infected mothers
As mentioned, viral STDs such as herpes, HIV, HPV and hepatitis cannot be cured but they can be managed.
**Can you get treated for STDs from home? **
There are a number of home test providers who also provide treatment via prescriptions if you test positive for certain sexually transmitted diseases as part of their service, including:
For a STD test price comparison, visit our latest article where we compare the market so you can get the most cost effective option.
Should you tell your sexual partners if you have a sexually transmitted disease?
If you have a sexually transmitted disease, you should alert all sexual partners from the last three months to one year, depending on the type of STD you have, so they can also get tested and treated if they need to.
Most states require that certain STIs are reported to the local or state health department. Public health departments often employ trained disease intervention specialists who can help notify partners and refer people for treatment. This ensures that the spread and growth of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States can be managed and controlled.
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**What is usually the first sign of a sexually transmitted disease? **
Read STD symptoms in men or STD symptoms in women for a full breakdown common STD symptoms and what to look out for.
**What is the most common treatment for sexually transmitted diseases? **
Antibiotics and antiviral medications are the most common treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
**How soon do you need to get treatment for sexually transmitted diseases? **
The incubation periods (length of time it takes for a test to be able to test positive or negative for an STD) will depend on the type of STD you have contracted. On average it takes 2-3 weeks from the time of unprotected sex for a test to provide accurate results.
**How can you test for STDs at home? **
You can test for STDs at home through providing a blood, urine or oral swab sample and mailing it back to be tested in a lab. Before choosing your provider, ensure that you put the research. At STDwatch.com, we make that easy. Check out our pick of the 5 Best At-Home STD Test Kits in 2021.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) - mayoclinic.org
- Sexually Transmitted Infections: University of Michigan - uofmhealth.org
- LetsGetChecked - letsgetchecked.com
- Everlywell - everlywell.com
- myLab Box- mylabbox.com
- Health Testing Centers - healthtestingcenters.com
- Nurx - nurx.com
- STD Test Price | How much do STD tests cost? - stdwatch.com
- STD symptoms in men - stdwatch.com
- STD symptoms in women - stdwatch.com
- 5 Best At-Home STD Test Kits in 2021 - stdwatch.com