Many of the main STDs have an effective cure, based on antibiotics or other treatments; others, such as HIV, HPV and Herpes, cannot be cured, but can be managed to alleviate their symptoms or simply reduce the likelihood of infection. At the heart of effective treatment against sexually transmitted diseases is early diagnosis. But let’s see how STDs, whether curable or incurable, can be treated.
Assessing and accurately diagnosing an STD from symptoms alone is not an easy task for the doctor. First of all, as we have already seen in the dedicated article, because in many cases STDs do not present any obvious symptoms. Therefore, if the doctor suspects the presence of an STD, he or she will usually recommend a few control tests to avoid a possible negative course. A simple urine or blood test will give the health care professional useful information; in the case of genital skin manifestations, sores and discharge of liquid material, a genital swab is also recommended. Such tests are available in pharmacies for some of these diseases, although they are not always reliable; however, STD tests can also be performed at your doctor’s office, or at a sexual health clinic.
Take for example the well-known Pap test. It is not an STD test, but a test to check for precancerous cells in the cervix; in fact, a negative Pap test does not rule out STDs.
Depending on the diagnosed STD, there will be ad hoc treatments, not only for the patient but also for the sexual partner. This is crucial: these treatments should be carried out simultaneously in pairs, to avoid continuing to pass the infection to each other.
In the case of bacterial-transmitted diseases, antibiotics are usually effective in fighting bacterial infections. They should be taken regularly and continuously for the time indicated by your doctor, even if there is improvement in sight.
In the case of virally transmitted diseases, however, antibiotics are of no help. Unfortunately, most viral-type infections have no cure, while others can sometimes achieve complete healing on their own. There are treatment options to alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of transmission: for example, there are drugs to slow the development of HIV or to reduce herpes outbreaks.
Finally, in the case of diseases such as pubic lice, trichomoniasis or scabies, i.e., not caused by viruses or bacteria, but by other small organisms, there are treatments based on drugs for oral or topical use.