Having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) doesn't have to mean the end of your life. Many STDs are treatable, and some can even be cured. HIV, for example, is a virus that cannot be cured, but it can be managed with the right care. Other viral STDs, such as herpes and HIV, may stay with you for life.
Vaccines are available for some STDs, such as hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV), but they cannot be cured. In some cases, these viruses can become chronic infections that last a lifetime and even cause cancer. Chlamydia is one of the most common bacterial STDs today. It is especially dangerous for women because it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which is a major cause of infertility. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause scar tissue to block the fallopian tubes, increasing the risk of tubal pregnancies and infertility in both men and women. You can get tested and treated for STDs at any Planned Parenthood health center.
Data on STDs among other ethnic or racial groups is limited due to their smaller populations in the United States. Studies of couples where one partner was HIV-positive and the other was not showed no effect of other STDs on susceptibility to HIV. Chlamydia can persist for up to a year if left untreated. The role of STDs in prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) is uncertain. You cannot self-diagnose an STD based on symptoms and assume that the infection has gone away when the symptoms disappear.
Only with comprehensive data on the costs of STDs can the true benefits of investing in STD prevention be evaluated. As I learned more about STDs, I realized that they are not as bad as I thought they were. Pregnant women with an STD can transmit the infection to their babies in the womb, during delivery, or while breastfeeding. Women with gonorrhea or chlamydia infection may not be diagnosed until complications occur. STDs pose a serious threat to couples' reproductive capacity, particularly due to their impact on women. Data on viral STDs is much more limited than that on bacterial STDs, but it does not suggest significant differences.
Couples were randomly assigned to receive better syndromic treatment for STDs at the primary care level or standard treatment for STDs.