There are many different sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) out there, but did you know that four of them are not curable? Although the following diseases can not be cured, they can be suppressed. The herpes simplex virus (HSV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and human papillomavirus (HPV) are serious diseases that can lead to life-long problems if left untreated. Prevention and education are always the best courses of action in reducing their spread. Read on to learn more about these four STDs.
What Are STDs?
There are a few different types of STDs or sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhea and syphilis (along with their non-sexual cousins, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis) have been curable for years through antibiotics. This is because they are infections and not diseases. While infections can be cured, diseases cannot. Unfortunately, there is no cure for four sexual diseases: hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Why Aren’t All STDs Curable?
There’s no cure for these four sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) because they’re caused by viruses. While their symptoms may be treated, there is no cure because drugs cannot get rid of viruses; most attempts to destroy viruses have been unsuccessful. Only vaccines can help prevent STDs from infecting you. However, some doctors say it might never be possible to create a vaccine or cure for these types of infections. That means these STDs will remain with us for years to come and that you should practice safe sex and get tested frequently.
For now, there is only one vaccine available for STDs, that is the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
How Are They Spread?
One of many ways you can get an STD is by having unprotected sex. Even a small tear in your skin or mucous membrane (the thin, delicate membranes that line your mouth, vagina, and rectum) can provide an opening for infections to enter your body. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is spread through sexual contact with someone who has HPV.
What Are the Consequences of Having an STD?
The presence of an STI, especially when left untreated, can lead to a number of very serious complications. They include infertility in women and men, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pain. It is important to receive treatment for these diseases as soon as possible because early diagnosis and treatment have been shown to decrease long-term negative health consequences. Currently, there is no cure for any of the four mentioned STDs—only treatments that help manage the symptoms until your body is able to fight off the infection on its own. Some treatments may not work for all patients due to differences in immune system response and other individual factors.
How Can We Avoid Getting an STD?
When you’re sexually active, it is important to learn about how to protect yourself against getting an STD. Here are a few tips for avoiding STDs when you’re having sex. If you know your partner has an STD or is at risk of passing one to you, use protection—including condoms—every time you have sex. It’s not worth taking any chances! Don’t be afraid to ask your sexual partner if they have had any sexual diseases before engaging in intercourse and make sure they are honest with their answers so there will be no surprises later on down the road. This way both your concerns can be put at ease before proceeding with sexual activity.
Should We Get Tested?
While there is no cure for STDs, being diagnosed and treated can prevent some infections from getting worse, developing into a disease, and spreading to other people. HIV is not curable, but there are treatments available to help manage HIV-positive patients' viral loads and ward off any illness associated with it. People may be tested before they start a relationship, once they’re in a relationship (to keep themselves or their partner safe), and after an exposure risk like unprotected sex or needle sharing. If you’re sexually active, you should get tested at least once every year.