In 2018, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 1 in 5 people in the US had an STI (sexually transmitted infection), accounting for 68 million infections. Almost half of the STIs were among young people aged between 15-24.
An untreated sexually transmitted disease (STD) could lead to potentially serious long-term health complications, particularly in women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and cancer. Fortunately, most STDs are relatively simple to treat at their early stages.
Let’s learn more about STDs, symptoms, treatment options, and where you can go in Kent, Washington, to deal with your sexual-health-related concerns.
What Is An STD?
STDs result when an infection (STI) is transmitted from an infected person to an uninfected person through sexual contact. They can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites.
Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis are the common types of STDs that can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease if not treated early enough. Other common STDs can include:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (genital warts & cervical cancer)
- Genital herpes
- Hepatitis (possible but uncommon, drop this instead use the most common STD trichomoniasis)
- Pubic lice and scabies
- Bacterial vaginosis (not an STD, but can increase your chance of getting an STD)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)(Also has non-STD causes)
- Mycoplasma is newly identified as a concern. See the 2021 MMWR addressing STD treatment changes.
Signs of an STI
Many STIs do not have obvious signs or symptoms, particularly in their early stages. Symptoms can vary depending on the type of infection but may include:
- Pain/discomfort during sex or urination
- Sores, blisters, bumps, or rashes, on or around the genitalia, anus, buttocks, inner thighs, or mouth
- Unusual discharge or bleeding from the vagina or penis
- Pain or swelling in the testicles
- Tingling or burning in or around the vagina
- Itching or irritation in or around the vagina, anus, or penis
- Irregular or heavy/painful periods
- Bleeding or pain with or after sexual activity
How Are STD’s Treated?
STDs treatment can vary depending on the type of STD, often requiring multiple treatments. Treatment options can include:
- Antibiotics are often used to treat STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Oral antiviral medications, for STDs such as genital herpes, or HIV/AIDS. – Multiple long-term medications are necessary, along with specialist care, for conditions such as HIV/AIDS.
- Medications that are applied to the skin are often used for the treatment of public lice and scabies.
- Topical treatments, such as cream or solutions to be applied directly to the affected area, such as for the treatment of external genital warts. (no one should be treating herpes with topical agents as they don’t work nearly as well as oral agents.)
- Freezing also known as cryotherapy may be used to treat conditions such as genital warts or molluscum contagiosum.
Certain treatments may need to be repeated if the condition fails to improve. Whilst on treatment, you may also be advised to make lifestyle alterations, such as using condoms or avoiding sexual activity until treatment is complete.
- The safest way to protect against STDs is to practice safer sex using a condom.
- If you are sexually active, regular STD testing is recommended to identify if you have an infection.This is recommended around the time of a new partner, if there are any symptoms and yearly under the age of 26 years old.
- The HPV immunization is strongly recommended by the CDC for girls and boys (aged over 9), to protect against HPV infection, genital warts, and cervical cancer. Only 2 doses are needed if the first dose is given before age 14. If someone has not been immunized as a child they can still get the vaccine up to age 46 years of age.
STD Testing Near Me in Kent, Washington
If you suspect you have an STD, early diagnosis and treatment are essential. At FamilyCare of Kent, our compassionate and non-judgmental staff provide a range of family-centered healthcare services for patients of all ages, including confidential sexual health services.
If you have any questions about our other family-centered healthcare services, please contact us today at (253) 859-2273 (CARE), or fill out our convenient online appointment request form.