Sexual Healing: Which STDs Can & Cannot Be Cured
With all of the different STDs out there, it can be difficult to remember which ones can be treated and cured, and which sexually transmitted diseases stay with you for life. STDs are caused by a variety of bacteria, parasites and viruses. There are a few exceptions, but the easiest way to remember which sexually transmitted diseases can be cured is to know which are viral and which are not.
We put together a breakdown of the STDs that can pretty much always be cured, can sometimes be cured, and those that currently do not have a cure. We update this post when new STD treatment information becomes available.
STDs that can be treated and cured with antibiotics or prescriptions include:
- Chlamydia – Chlamydia is a bacterial STD. It can often be treated with just a single round of antibiotics.
- Gonorrhea – Like chlamydia, gonorrhea is caused by bacteria that can usually be treated with antibiotics, however, there have recently been some cases of gonorrhea that are resistant to antibiotics.
- Trichomoniasis – Trich is caused by a parasitic protozoan that can be eradicated with antibiotics.
- Syphilis – Syphilis attacks the body in stages. It can often be easily treated with penicillin during the primary and secondary stages. A higher dosage may be required for the latent stage, especially for late latent stage. Syphilis can wreak havoc on the body’s internal organs during the late latent stage– even if syphilis is treated and cured at this point, the damage cannot be reversed.
- Scabies – Scabies are mites that spread via skin-to-skin contact. They can be killed with prescription body washes or shampoos, but they can live on towels, bedding, and clothing, so all fabric materials need to be adequately cleaned.
- Public Lice/Crabs – Public lice can be ousted by using prescription washes, but all clothing, bedding, and fabrics need to be cleaned thoroughly, too.
STDs that the body sometimes clears over time on its own include:
- Molluscum contagiosum – Even though this is a viral STD, the body typically clears itself of this rash-causing virus after approximately 6 to 18 months, but can take as long as four years, according to the CDC.
- HPV – Many (but not all) cases of the human papillomavirus are cleared by the body sporadically after one or two years. They are thought to become dormant and many do not recur. Some cases of HPV cause genital warts, which are NOT to be confused with penis pimples.
- Hepatitis A (HAV) – HAV typically only lasts a couple months before the body can get rid of the virus on its own. Some cases last up to six months. Hepatitis A is preventable via a series of immunizations.
- Acute Hepatitis B (HBV) – Hepatitis B cases last for about six months before the body clears the virus.
- Acute Hepatitis C (HCV) – In acute HCV cases, 1 in 5 individuals will clear the virus on their own for unknown reasons, the rest develop chronic HCV. Recent medical advancements have made it possible to clear chronic HCV with intense medical treatment.
STDs that currently do not have a cure include:
- Oral herpes – Oral herpes (cold sores) are typically caused by the HSV-1 strain of the virus, but can be caused by HSV-2. Herpes goes through unpredictable active and inactive phases. Even when the virus is inactive it can still be spread.
- Genital herpes – Genital herpes cause lesions on or near the genitals which are typically caused by the HSV-2 strain of the virus, but can be caused by HSV-1. Herpes goes through unpredictable active and inactive phases. Even when the virus is inactive it can still be spread.
- HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) – HIV, which becomes AIDS if left untreated, if a chronic infection that attacks the immune system. HIV makes it very difficult to fight off other illnesses and infections, but those diagnosed can be treated with antiretroviral therapy to keep their viral load (Amount of copies of the virus) low and still live a long life.
- Chronic Hepatitis B (HBV) – Chronic Hepatitis occurs after the initial acute phase of Hepatitis B. Chronic hepatitis results after approximately six months of having the virus and lasts for the rest of an individual’s life. Symptoms can occur anytime, even decades later. Many end up with chronic infection or liver disease– 20 percent die as a result of chronic infection.
- HPV – Some strains of the human papillomavirus, especiallhigh-risksk strains, may cause constant problems. Some strains can cause genital warts and others can cause various cancers, including cervical cancer. Because this virus is thought to lie dormant when inactive, it can be difficult to gauge when an individual contracted it. Women with the virus may show no signs or symptoms for years until receiving abnormal Pap test results.
No matter what type of STD you may be worried about, it is important to get tested to know what you are dealing with (if anything) and to seek the appropriate treatment. Treatments, like antibiotics, can cure some sexually transmitted diseases, while others can keep the disease from worsening. At STDcheck.com, our physicians are able to prescribe the necessary antibiotics to treat and cure the sexually transmitted infections that are caused by bacteria.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Kaci Durbin, MD, MBA, FACOG on October 1, 2018 - Written by STDcheck Editorial Team.
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