November 23, 2022
With nearly 20 million new cases of STDs reported each year, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs or STIs) are some of the most common infections in the world. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are 30 different types of viruses, bacteria, and parasites that can be transmitted through sexual contact.
Fortunately, the majority of these STDs can be cured thanks to the widespread availability of antibiotics, but there are a number of STDs that are incurable.
In this article, we’ll explore the most common types of STDs, which are incurable, and how you can get tested to protect yourself and others if you are sexually active.
Despite the 30 different types of STDs, many are so uncommon that you’ve likely never heard of them. For instance, scabies, pubic lice, molluscum contagiosum, and lymphogranuloma venereum, to name a few.
Of these 30, eight STDs are the most common:
So, which of these eight common STDs are incurable?
The four incurable STDs include:
Although these four STDs cannot be cured with antibiotics or antiviral medications, it’s important to remember that they can still be managed with treatment and medication.
There are two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV): Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 cause sores or blisters to form in or around the mouth or genitals, along with other symptoms. Despite the stigma attached with herpes, it’s extremely common in the United States.
In fact, 50% of American adults have oral herpes (HSV-1) and most people are first exposed to HSV-1 before the age of five. In most cases, it’s transmitted from a parent or sibling via a kiss on the mouth, sharing eating utensils, or objects that have the virus on them.
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is associated with genital herpes and causes painful open sores around the geneital area and is usually sexually transmitted. Nearly 11.9% of people aged 14 to 49 have this type of herpes virus.
Although there is no cure for herpes, several treatment options are available that can lessen the severity of outbreaks and symptoms, as well as reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.
For a deeper look into treating HSV-1 and HSV-2, check out our article here.
Hepatitis B is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis and it’s caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Fortunately, an HBV vaccine is available to help prevent the infection and is typically administered to babies at birth. However, if you were born after 1999, there is a chance that you may not have received the vaccine.
If you have HBV, taking certain medications and monitoring your liver health can help lessen symptoms and slow the damage to your liver.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is another incurable STD. Once infected, the virus attacks the body’s cells that help fight infection, weakening the immune system and making the infected person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. If left untreated, HIV can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
Although HIV cannot be cured, advances in modern medicine have made it possible for many people with HIV to live long, fulfilling lives with little risk of infecting others or developing AIDS. One of the main treatments for HIV is a class of drugs called antiretroviral therapy, which reduce the amount of the virus in the body to almost undetectable numbers.
One of the most common STDs in the United States is the human papillomavirus, or HPV. In fact, the CDC estimates that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some time in their lives. Fortunately, 90% of HPV infections go away within two years of detection and most infections are harmless.
However, in some cases, HPV can lead to to more severe conditions, including:
A vaccination for HPV is available and the CDC recommends that 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds receive two doses of the HPV vaccine.
Taking care of your sexual health is important. If you are sexually active, then STD testing should be part of your routine health and wellness screening. This can help you detect infections early on and prevent you from unknowingly spreading an STD to others.
If you wish to take a home STD test, Getlabs will come directly to you to collect samples and deliver them to Labcorp or Quest for testing. Once test results are ready, you can review them through the patient portal for your laboratory or contact your doctor.
For more information about Getlabs and the services we provide, visit getlabs.com/faq to learn more.
This page is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute the provision of medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice regarding any of the tests and conditions referenced above are advised to consult with a licensed clinician. Always seek the advice of your qualified health provider regarding a medical condition and do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information on this page. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest urgent care center or hospital.
Getlabs sends a nearby medical specialist to you to collect your labs for Labcorp and Quest. Available same-day, nationwide.