Bacterial STDs can be cured with antibiotics if treatment begins early enough. Viral STDs cannot be cured, but you can manage symptoms with medications. There is a vaccine against hepatitis B, but it will not help if you already have the disease.
If you are given antibiotics to treat a STD, it is important that you take all of the drug prescribed to you, even if the symptoms go away. Also, do not take someone else's medication to treat your infection; it may make it more difficult to treat.
Here are some specific STD treatments:
- HIV /AIDS: Since AIDS is not curable, treatment focuses on keeping HIV levels in check. Antiretroviral drugs are the standard therapy for HIV infection, and usually you will be given several drugs to take, a so-called drug “cocktail.” The question of when to begin antiretroviral therapy for HIV is still debated. Some doctors believe in an early start to better manage the HIV virus, while others believe it is better to wait since the drugs can cause unpleasant side effects and drug resistance may develop. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin antiretroviral therapy.
- Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: These STDs are treated with antibiotics. You should begin taking them if tests show you have chlamydia or gonorrhea or if you have been exposed to them, even though you may not have symptoms. Your sex partners will also have to be treated regardless of whether they have symptoms. Certain strains of gonorrhea have become resistant to some antibiotics, so you may have to take more than one drug to fight gonorrhea. Make sure your partner also seeks treatment. You should get retested after three months to make sure the infection has cleared, even if your partner has been treated. Failure to treat chlamydia or gonorrhea can result in permanent damage to your reproductive organs and an inability to get pregnant.
- Syphilis : Penicillin is the preferred treatment for syphilis. Early treatment is crucial to prevent the bacteria from spreading to and damaging other organs.