In short, the answer is no. Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are curable. On the other hand, some STIs don’t have a cure but are manageable in other ways. Looking at data from WHO, there are over 30 different pathogens like bacteria, parasites, and viruses that are transmitted during sexual activity.
However, they found there were only 8 responsible for causing the infections we see in the populace. And from those 8 linked to STIs, half are curable and the other half are not. In this article, we will answer which infection falls into each group.
What are Curable STIs?
STIs that come from bacteria can be cured with antibiotics. However, that doesn’t mean there can’t be long-lasting effects for those infected and some medications come with their own set of risks and potential side effects.
These are the four STIs that have cures available:
- Syphilis is an infection that develops over four phases and has a variety of symptoms ranging from sores on the genitalia to rashes and swollen lymph nodes. After the initial infection, the bacteria can lie dormant for decades and damage organs like the brain and heart.
- Chlamydia is a common STI characterized by penile/vaginal discharge, burning sensation while urinating, and pain or swelling in the testicles for men. It can also affect the rectum. Left untreated, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women.
- Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a parasite that goes unnoticed in 70% of people infected because there are little to no symptoms for them. For those who have them, there is discomfort when urinating, itching or irritation in the penis/vagina, and discharge. Trichomoniasis can last for years if untreated.
- Gonorrhea affects the genitals, rectum, and throat and is another common STI, especially in the younger population from 15-25. There often aren’t any symptoms but can still do serious harm to people’s health.
What are Incurable STIs?
At the other end are incurable STIs, which are caused by viral infections. Once the virus invades the body, it will be around for life. However, it’s important to remember that the symptoms and complications can be managed under the right treatment programs and medications.
These are the four STIs that are incurable:
- Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is one of the most common infections in the world and is widely spread because people are often asymptomatic. However, when symptoms do show, there are painful sores and lesions on the mouth, genitals, or anus.
- Hepatitis B can spread in sexual and non-sexual ways. The symptoms include dark urine, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, jaundice, and joint pain.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) doesn’t really have symptoms in either men or women, but it has a high risk of causing cancer.
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus causes the body’s immune system to weaken, making it difficult to defend against more harmful pathogens.
What Makes STIs So Prevalent?
A common thread we can see is that a lot of times there aren’t any symptoms associated with the infections– or they can be mild enough to never notice. That’s why it’s important to get tested and stay on top of your health, even if you aren’t currently sexually active or experiencing symptoms.
For your convenience, Juna offers at-home STI self-testing, amongst a host of other telehealth benefits available to everyone. Interested in learning more? Contact us today.