Every Valentine’s Day, couples everywhere – new and old – celebrate love. For some, this means celebrating with a longtime spouse, partner, or significant other. For others, Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a new couple, or just with a casual date. With couples everywhere getting romantic, you’d think there would be a spike in reported STD cases.
You thought wrong. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections have no seasonal correlation. STDs are a silent epidemic because so many people are ashamed to get treated. If everyone with an STD came in for treatment at once, every doctor and nurse would be overwhelmed. But not getting your STD treated can have disastrous long term consequences.
What STDs are you at risk of contracting?
Chlamydia is the most common STD and is problematic because many men don’t notice symptoms. The rate of new chlamydia infections is increasing every year, but fortunately it is still responsive to antibiotics.
Unlike Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, the second most common infection, is often resistant to antibiotics. It’s entirely possible to get both infections at the same time and the good news is that both can be treated at the same time. Further, new antibiotics are made on a regular basis. The bad news is that antibiotic resistance is becoming more common with gonorrhea and there are strains for which there currently are no treatments available. This happens because people who don’t know they have an infection take an antibiotic for a different ailment that is strong enough to treat the known infection, but isn’t enough to wipe out the gonorrhea. Antibiotic resistant strains of gonorrhea are most common in Eastern Europe and not as common in the United States. Unlike chlamydia, gonorrhea shows symptoms in both men and women. Leaving it untreated can lead to prostate infections for men and women may suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease and abscesses.
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is an incredibly common viral infection that can lead to genital warts and some forms of cancer. Fortunately, vaccines for HPV exist and we can proactively vaccinate young people to prevent cervical cancer. When the vaccine was first developed it was only given to men. Today, doctors are giving the HPV vaccine to both women and men in their early teens.
Around 30 years ago, doctors predicted that syphilis would be wiped out within a few decades. Due to increases in international travel, and in some cases sex tourism, syphilis is now on the rise. Previously, syphilis only existed in small population pockets. With increases in global travel, those pockets are mingling with the larger populace, thus increasing the spread of the disease. While long term it can damage your heart and brain, the good news is that syphilis is still very easy to treat and eliminate.
Herpes, like HPV, is a virus. A strain of the chickenpox virus, it will hide in your nerves for the rest of your life. Herpes typically hides in the ganglia near the pelvis and can flare up multiple times in a lifetime. Herpes is usually only infectious when blisters are active, so it is less likely to get herpes from someone if they have no blisters present. While we are unable to eliminate the virus entirely, medications can kill the virus when it manifests as blisters, which significantly reduces symptoms.
How do you recognize STD symptoms?
Most symptoms occur in males, while females are less symptomatic. Symptoms can include burning when you urinate, discharge from the urethra, a rash, or painful blisters near the outside of the vagina. Symptoms typically occur a few days or weeks after sexual contact with someone new if an STD has been introduced to the body.
What if you have no symptoms?
You may have no symptoms of an STD, so it’s a good idea to regularly get tested if you have a new sexual partner. If someone calls you to say they have tested positive for an STD and you’ve just had intercourse with them, go to a doctor at a U.S. HealthWorks clinic, and we’ll run a full panel to identify any infections and offer treatments.
How can U.S. HealthWorks help you with your STD?
Having an STD, or thinking you might have one, can be scary and embarrassing. That’s why we are proud to offer unparalleled, non-judgmental testing and treatments at all of our clinics. We will arm you with true information that comes from a doctor, not the internet. We can test and examine you, or give you the tools you need to culture yourself. We want to make this experience as painless as possible for you and your partner. Therefore, in addition to treating you, we can provide a double treatment to share with your partner. No matter what STD or STI you think you have, you can rest easy knowing we will give you everything you need to fight it head on – judgment free. Watch a short video to learn more.