Engaging in safe sex is not only important for preventing vaginal infections but also for being aware of the possibility of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). STDs are bacteria or viruses that are transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex, and they can significantly affect your sexual health. While some STDs can be treated, unfortunately, there are others that have no cure.
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In an exclusive conversation with Health Shots, Dr. Neha Bothara, Consultant-Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Hiranandani Hospital Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital, sheds light on the STDs that cannot be completely cured.
STDs That Cannot Be Cured
According to Dr. Bothara, “STDs can be transmitted through sexual contact, whether it’s penetrative sex or otherwise. Once you have an STD, it is important to seek medical assistance as you always run the risk of infecting your sexual partner with a viral STD, whether it is curable or incurable. While some STDs can be completely healed, others require long-term treatment or are incurable. However, with proper long-term treatment, those incurable STDs can be effectively managed, reducing the chances of transmission.”
1. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is the most well-known and feared sexually transmitted infection (STI). Over the years, follow-up care, long-term medication, and antiretroviral therapy have improved the management of HIV. The treatment helps prevent the growth and spread of the virus while maintaining a strong immune system. Additionally, these medications aid in preventing the development of AIDS from HIV. However, it remains true that there is no complete cure for HIV.
2. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
HSV Genital Herpes is a viral infection that spreads through genital-sexual contact, as well as through fomites and other means. Herpetic infections persist in the body for a long time. Herpes typically starts as a newly acquired infection, and over time, recurrent herpetic rashes may occur. The virus never truly leaves the body, but subsequent outbreaks are milder and less frequent. The main goals of treatment are to control pain and manage other uncomfortable herpes symptoms.
3. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV infections also tend to be long-lasting. After being infected with HPV, most men and women develop an immune response and can then clear the infection from their body. However, in a small number of individuals, the viral infection may persist and cause local changes in the cervical mucosa, eventually leading to cervical cancer.
4. Viral Hepatitis
Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are two forms of viral hepatitis that can be sexually transmitted. Once contracted, these infections are incurable. Viral hepatitis B and C cause long-term liver inflammation, cirrhosis, and can eventually lead to hepatocellular carcinoma or liver cancer.
5. Zika Virus Infection
While Zika virus infection is most commonly transmitted through mosquitoes, it can also be transmitted sexually. The most concerning complication of Zika virus is the potential for congenital anomalies in the fetus if the infection occurs during pregnancy.
It is crucial to prioritize safe sex practices and regular health check-ups to prevent the transmission of these incurable STDs. Remember to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect any signs or symptoms related to these infections.