Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be cured with the right medicine. Bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be cured with antibiotics. Remember to take the medicine as directed and never share your medication with others. If it is safe to do so, talk to your sex partner(s) about getting tested for STIs. If your current sex partner is infected, it is important they be treated at the same time to prevent you from becoming re-infected. Having an STI and getting it treated does not protect you from future infections!
Some STIs, such as HIV aren't curable, but they are treatable. Talk to your healthcare provider to start treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment not only helps you stay healthy but can also reduce your chance of spreading the virus to someone else.
If left untreated, STIs can cause very serious health problems such as:
Gonorrhea can cause men and women to become infertile.
Long term infection of syphilis can damage internal organs.
HIV can progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Having one STI also increases your chances of getting other STIs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chlamydia rates across the country have inreased 22% since 2013 and gonorrhea rates have gone up by 67% in the same time frame. However, even more troubling are increases in syphillis rates, including a 154% increase in congenital syphililis rates since 2013. Looking specifically at the Commonwealth, the Massachsuetts Department of Public Health reports similar increases in those three STIs.
This is the final blog in our series as part of National Sexually Transmitted Infection Awareness Month. To learn more about sextually transmitted infections, visit www.bphc.org/STI.