Sexual Screening for STDs

Sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs, venereal diseases) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States today. STDs are sometimes referred to as sexually-transmitted infections, since these conditions involve the transmission of an infectious organism between sex partners. More than 20 different STDs have been identified, and about 19 million men and women are infected each year in the United States.

Depending on the disease, the infection can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus, or the mouth; an infection can also be spread through contact with blood during sexual activity.

When to Seek Medical Care

A medical examination may be necessary if a person believes he or she may have an STD or if he or she may have been exposed to someone with an STD. Being seen by a doctor as soon as possible after exposure to an STD is important; these infections can easily spread to others and can have serious complications.

Go to a hospital’s emergency department in these circumstances if:

  • an STD problem worsens;
  • a fever develops with other symptoms; or
  • if it will be a couple of days before the individual can be evaluated by a doctor.

Medical Treatment

The treatment of an STD varies depending on the type of STD. Some STDs require a person to take antibiotic medication either by mouth or by injection; other STDs require a person to apply creams or special solutions on the skin. Often, reexamination by a doctor is necessary after the treatment to confirm that the STD is completely gone.

Some STDs, such as genital herpes and HIV (which leads to AIDS), cannot be cured, only controlled with medication.

Which STDs Have Vaccines?

Some STDs, such as such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and syphilis, are caused by bacteria. They are usually effectively treated with antibiotics, although many patients do not know that they are infective and can spread the disease to other partners. The availability of treatments means that the need for vaccines against these diseases is not a top priority, although the increased resistance of gonorrhea to antibiotics may lead to a shift in priorities.

Viral STDs are often highly persistent despite current therapeutic options or have no acceptable treatment available. Therefore, vaccines for certain viral STDs are in use, and others are in development.

Genital Warts

The primary goal of treating visible genital warts is the removal of the warts. In the majority of patients, treatment can induce wart-free periods. If left untreated, visible genital warts might resolve on their own, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number. Treatment possibly reduces, but does not eliminate, HPV infection.

Existing data indicate that currently available therapies for genital warts might reduce, but probably do not eradicate, HPV infectivity. Whether the reduction in HPV viral DNA, resulting from treatment, impacts future transmission remains unclear. No evidence indicates that the presence of genital warts or their treatment is associated with the development of cervical cancer.

If you feel that you may have contracted an STD – or if you just aren’t sure – call our office today to schedule an appointment for confidential consultation.

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