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Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Health Information and Treatments

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are contagious viruses transmitted through sexual contact. Herpes simplex virus is a common sexually transmitted disease. There are two types of viruses: herpes simplex-1 and herpes simplex-2. Both STDs can cause genital and oral outbreaks. Sexually transmitted diseases spread via vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Kissing and skin-to-skin contact can also spread STDs.

Men and women can contract sexually transmitted diseases. Symptoms can include pain, itching, burning, and sores. However, some carriers never show symptoms. You can still spread sexually transmitted diseases when you’re not showing symptoms.

There is no cure for viral sexually transmitted diseases. STDs can enter your body and remain dormant for weeks, months, or years. Sexually transmitted diseases can reactivate at any time. When the virus is active, it’s called an outbreak. Certain medications can control STD symptoms. These medications can ease the healing process and prevent future outbreaks.

Causes of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Herpes is a common viral sexually transmitted disease. There are two types of herpes viral infections:

• Herpes Simplex-1. This sexually transmitted disease usually causes oral infections. It can spread to the genitals via oral sex.

• Herpes Simplex-2. This sexually transmitted disease causes sores on the genitals. The virus spreads via sexual and skin-to-skin contact.

You can contract viral STDs without exchanging body fluids with an infected person. Most sexually transmitted diseases can’t survive outside the body. Therefore, you’re not likely to contract STDs from toilet seats or towels.

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

If you recently contracted a sexually transmitted disease, you may not know that you have an infection. Many patients do not show symptoms right away. In some cases, mild symptoms may go unnoticed.

Patients that do have symptoms may notice:

• Pain, itching, or burning in the genital region.

• Blisters, sores, and wet ulcers.

• Pain when urine touches the sores.

• Swollen lymph nodes in the pelvic region.

• Flu-like symptoms, including headache, muscle soreness, and fever.

• Problems when urinating.

These symptoms can appear within a few days of infection. Some patients don’t experience symptoms for several weeks or months. Occasionally, patients won’t show symptoms until years have gone by. If you have experienced symptoms before, it’s likely that you’ll have another outbreak in the future. In some patients, physical or emotional stress can trigger an outbreak.

Medications for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Prescription medications can control STD symptoms and prevent outbreaks. If you have a current outbreak, medication can help you heal quickly. There are four main prescription medications used to treat viral sexually transmitted diseases:

• Zovirax

• Famvir

• Valtrex

• Denavir

Zovirax, Famvir, and Valtrex are oral medications. Denavir is a topical medication used to treat oral outbreaks. An intravenous form of Zovirax is can treat severe infections.

Patients with sexually transmitted diseases have two long-term treatment options:

• Periodic Treatment. You receive medication when you have an outbreak. Begin taking your medication as soon as you see the first symptom. Treatment can shorten the duration of your outbreaks.

• Suppression. Patients with frequent outbreaks may need suppressive therapy. When using this method, you take medication daily. This is the best solution for patients that have several outbreaks every year.

Treating STD Outbreaks

If you are experiencing an outbreak, refrain from vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It may be possible to have sex between outbreaks, but only if you inform your partner about the risks. It’s still possible to spread sexually transmitted diseases when you’re not showing symptoms. You can use a condom to reduce the risk of infection.

Outbreaks are sometimes triggered by outside factors. While the triggers are different for everyone, some common reasons include:

• Friction during sex.

• Hormonal fluctuations.

• An impaired immune system.

• Injury, trauma, or surgery.

Treating Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Viral sexually transmitted diseases are usually treated with prescription medications. Oral medications include Famvir, Zovirax, and Valtrex. Denavir is a topical medication used to treat oral outbreaks. Creams may not be as effective as oral medications. Your doctor can help you choose the best medication for your symptoms.

If you have an STD, stay away from excessive heat and sunlight. These factors can aggravate symptoms. When possible, use unscented soaps. Avoid feminine deodorant products and douches that could irritate your sores. Wear light, loose clothing that allows your skin to breathe.

You may wish to take an over-the-counter pain medication during outbreaks. If you have frequent outbreaks, speak to your doctor about your treatment options. A licensed physician can help you select a medication to control your outbreaks.