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September 07, 2021

STDs, curable vs. manageable

The importance of STD screening and diagnosis becomes evident at the moment of getting the appropriate treatment.

Being diagnosed with an STD should not cause panic. But -of course, it is definitely worth keeping in mind that although if diagnosed on time and although most STDs are treatable, it is still a serious thing.

Getting tested will protect you, your partner(s), and will help you stay informed. Getting tested will alert you of an infection that you may not know you have (e.g. many people with Chlamydia have no idea they are infected), or an infection that may have long-term health consequences like infertility if not treated. Getting tested will allow you to start treatment early enough.

All STDs are treatable, but some cannot be cured

  • Herpes simplex is a viral infection that shows physical symptoms on the skin. Whilst it is not curable, it is still manageable, and -what is most striking- it is very prevalent: nearly everyone will have Herpes simplex at some point in their lives. Luckily, you can take daily medication to suppress herpes symptoms. Taking this suppressive antiviral medication can reduce outbreaks by up to 80 percent, and for many people suppress the totality of outbreaks.
  • HIV is another type of (currently) incurable STDs, although it is the one with the most research funds. This virus attacks the immune system, which makes it too weak to fight off other infections attaching the body. The worldwide epidemic outbreak began in the 80s. But thanks to years of research the disease today is treatable and manageable. With current antiviral medication regimens, people can live longer lives with the disease and achieve undetectable viral loads in blood. Whereas is a personally and socially challenging diagnosis to face, the treatment possibilities are promising.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus known for causing genital warts, but only a few of the 40-ish strains actually cause warts. Some of the other strains can potentially cause cancer, and the rest kinda just hitch a ride in your body. Depending on how old you are, you may have already gotten the vaccine against HPV— this only covers you against the highest risk strains. So regardless, chances are at some point in your life, you’ll get HPV in your body. Symptoms can be managed through some medical procedures like freezing off warts, changing what you eat, taking herbs, and minimizing your stress. But there’s no medical cure.
  • Hepatitis B cannot be cured, however, there is a vaccine available. Some people do end up with chronic Hepatitis B, which means their body didn’t get rid of it within six months. For people with chronic Hepatitis B infection, there is medication available that can diminish the damage the virus does to your liver.