Haven’t Felt the Burn? Get Tested Anyway!
Worried you’ve been exposed to an STD? Get a diagnosis, test, and prescription for just $39 with First Opinion.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs) have always been a prickly subject. Despite students in America learning about the birds and bees as young adults, the prevalence of infections continues to grow – 19 million new cases are reported each year keeping the total affected population at 110 million individuals (almost a third of the population).
Untreated STDs Pose Severe Personal Risks
Whether due to fear, social stigma (seeing your doctor on insurance creates a permanent record), or not being informed about the symptoms (or lack thereof) or risk factors (see our guide for more), many individuals aren’t getting the early detection and treatment they should. We at First Opinion want to help change that!
This is troublesome from a population and individual health perspective. Not only does an untreated infection threaten spreading to potential partners, it also has detrimental effects on the individual.
CDC estimates that undiagnosed and untreated STDs cause at least 24,000 women in the United States each year to become infertile.
For women, undiagnosed and untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea can increase risk of chronic pelvic pain, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, and can increase chances of later infertility. At least 15 percent of all American women who are infertile may be able to attribute it to tubal damage caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), the result of an untreated STD. For men, the same infections can lead to inflammation of the prostate, inflammation and scarring of the urethra, and possible infertility.
For both men and women, untreated hepatitis can cause jaundice, mild to severe liver infection, fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, or even hepatocellular carcinoma (cancer).
Untreated syphilis can lead to inflammation all over the body including bones, eyes, and brain, as well as internal bleeding, enlargement of the liver and/or spleen, and large sores on the skin and elsewhere in the body.
In addition, having a sore or break in the skin from another STD makes it easier for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and HPV (human papillomavirus) to enter your bloodstream.
Luckily, It’s Easy to Get Tested
Fortunately, all of these diseases are manageable if detected early. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis (early stage) are all curable with antibiotics, while viral infections like herpes and HIV can be controlled with antivirals to suppress symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading. Patients diagnosed with HPV may be followed more closely for cervical and oropharyngeal cancers to monitor for development of later complications. Note that HPV is tested by a cervical exam. Here is a good guideline for cervical cancer screening.
The majority of STIs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms that may not be recognized as an STI.
First Opinion can help you get the tests, diagnosis, and early treatment in order to try to stop a possible STD from becoming a severe chronic illness. Chat with a First Opinion doctor to make sure things don’t get worse!