Treatment is available for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs), no matter what the cause, to relieve symptoms, even if a cure is not possible. Some, but not all, STIs are treated with antibiotics.
- Some of the most common STIs—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—are caused by bacteria and are treated and cured with antibiotics.
- STIs caused by viruses, such as genital herpes and genital warts, are not cured with antibiotics, but treatments are available to relieve symptoms.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, is a sexually transmitted virus that is treated with many medicines but is not cured.
If you think that you have been exposed to an STI, it is important to be evaluated promptly by a health professional. This will help prevent serious health problems for yourself and reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to others.
- Do not have sexual contact while waiting for your appointment.
- Do not douche unless instructed to do so by your health professional. Douching may flush an infection up into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Many STI symptoms will go away or change quickly. This does not mean that the STI has gone away. It will be harder for your health professional to diagnose your STI after the symptoms have changed. A delay in being evaluated may lead to a more serious illness.
Current as of: July 7, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine