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Can STDs go away on their own?

Public Health England reported almost half a million STD diagnoses in England during 2019. Although the majority of cases are relatively straightforward to treat, in this blog we take a look at what happens if you catch an STD and don’t seek treatment.

Some STDs never go away completely

Most STDs are curable with the right medication. However, there are a small number of STDs that are incurable and, once contracted,  will never go away. Hepatitis B, HIV and Herpes, and HPV are a few examples of these.

Herpes

It is estimated that over 500 million people have herpes worldwide. The infection is spread through skin on skin contact and is mostly asymptomatic, but when symptoms do arise, they appear in the form of sores located around the genitals or anus. The infection can be managed through antiviral medication which will reduce outbreaks and therefore reduce the risk of transmission, but the infection itself is incurable and will never go away completely. 

HIV

Left untreated, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can be fatal. HIV is a contagious virus that damages the cells in your immune system, leaving you weak and at risk of everyday infections. Untreated, HIV may become AIDS after several years and can be life-threatening.

Although HIV is incurable, there are treatments that can help manage the disease and allow you to live a long, healthy life.  A common treatment for HIV is Antiretroviral Therapy which reduces the level of the virus in the blood, giving the immune system a chance to repair itself and prevent further damage.

It is important to spot HIV as soon as possible to stop it developing further and reduce the risk of transmission. 

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by a virus that is spread through bodily fluids such as blood or semen. Most cases of Hepatitis B are asymptomatic, but can cause serious damage to the liver. It is known for people to recover from cases of Hepatitis B, but the disease itself is incurable.

Treatments for Hepatitis B include interferon injections that work to stimulate the immune system and antiviral medication. If you were born after 1991, you will likely have received a vaccine against Hepatitis B. 

What happens if STDs aren’t treated?

There are a number of short-term and long-term consequences that may happen if you have an untreated STD.

Infertility

Some curable STDs such as Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia can lead to infertility if left untreated. It can also cause such diseases as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women. This is when vaginal infection spreads through the reproductive tract, damaging the reproductive organs. Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Chlamydia can also cause infertility in men if left untreated. 

Infecting others

One of the biggest problems of having an untreated STD is unknowingly spreading it. This may lead to serious problems for both yourself and your sexual partners. It is vital to be tested regularly for STDs, particularly if you have multiple sexual partners. This will reduce the risk of transmission as well as catching any infections early. If you require an STD test, visit our private sexual health testing page today..

Other severe health problems

There are a multitude of health issues caused by STDs which, left untreated, may become serious, and in some cases, fatal. Be sure to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases to catch infections early and reduce your risk of developing severe health problems such as:

  • Bladder problems
  • Meningitis
  • Weakening of the immune system
  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Heart problems
  • Dementia
  • Blindness
  • Infertility
  • Cancer
  • Pregnancy complications

How to know if you have an STD?

Unfortunately, many STDs are asymptomatic and you may not know that you are infected. Even if you do present with symptoms, many STDs carry the same symptoms. To be sure that you are clean of STDs, or to determine which STD you might have, we recommend regular testing. At Your Sexual Health, we offer a wide range discreet and confidential tests that can be taken from the comfort of your own home.

If you are sexually active and have had multiple sexual partners or have engaged in unprotected sex, your risk of contracting and transmitting STDs is increased. It is important to be regularly tested, particularly before engaging with a new partner, in order to prevent long-term health complications associated with sexually transmitted infections.