Living With Incurable STDs
Learning that you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD or STI, sexually transmitted infection) is scary. Depending on the type of disease, you may deal with pain, unsightly discharge, and a list of other unpleasant symptoms. You’ll also deal with the embarrassment that comes with having to tell a partner or a person you just started dating.
Then there’s the stigma that comes with being a statistic. It’s an all-encompassing experience involving health issues, dating, and being on the receiving end of someone else’s judgment.
Whether you think you have a sexually transmitted disease, or it’s been confirmed by your doctor, it’s a good idea to obtain as much information as possible about your condition. This will help you manage the infection instead of letting it consume your life.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that every person who’s sexually active could be at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Because of this, the best thing you can do is educate yourself and practice safe sex every single time. Even if you’re already infected, you want to be able to (a) protect your sexual partner, and (b) prevent the contraction of an additional infection.
How to Manage Incurable STDs
If you have a sexually transmitted disease, it’s crucial to get proper treatment. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, and if left untreated, some of them could cause irreparable damage to internal organs. In addition, if you’re pregnant, the disease could be transmitted to your child during childbirth.
In addition to antibiotics, creams, or any other prescription medication, receiving a diagnosis of an incurable STD can result in a substantial amount of stress. If you feel that you could benefit from counseling, know that there’s no shame in seeking it.
Having a support group helps patients feel less isolated while dealing with this experience. Even though sexually transmitted diseases are becoming increasingly common, it still seems taboo to talk about it. Knowing others who are going through the same thing can help a patient adjust and cope with their new reality.
If you’re sexually active and haven’t been tested recently, it’s sage advice to do so, since so many STDs don’t have any symptoms and 50% of the population will have contracted one by the time they’re 25.
List of Incurable STDs and Treatment
While there are sexually transmitted diseases that can be cured with prescription medication and antibiotics, the following are illnesses the patient will have to live with for the rest of their life:
1. Genital herpes.
Want to know something scary? Over 80% of people with genital herpes don’t know they have it. A person can contract it either vaginally, anally, or orally. This is crucial to know, since without proper sex education, young people having sexual contact may believe that oral sex is safe. Also, transmission is possible even if a person does not have any visible sores.
If you’re pregnant and believe you may have been exposed to the herpes virus, let your OB-GYN know as soon as possible, since the infection could result either in miscarriage or an early delivery of your baby. You also want to prevent the baby from getting neonatal herpes, which could be fatal.
2. Hepatitis B.
Hep B is the primary cause of liver cancer. It can also result in cirrhosis or liver failure. It can be prevented with a vaccine, but once a patient has chronic Hepatitis B, they have it for life. Taking antiviral medications will help to protect the liver despite the condition. While it won’t make the virus go away, it’ll slow down its effects.
If the liver has already been severely affected, the patient may be a candidate for a liver transplant.
3. Genital warts.
Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). However, not everyone with HPV develops genital warts. This is because HPV sometimes clears on its own. That said, once a patient has genital warts, there’s no medication to treat the virus. You can get topical treatments to deal with the discomfort of the warts, such as burning and itching; and you can have the warts removed by chemical treatment or surgery, but they will reappear.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a chronic disease that attacks the immune system. Left untreated, it will increase the likelihood of infecting a partner and develop into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Once a person has AIDS, their ability to fight even the most minor infections (such as the common cold) is significantly weakened.
A person could live with HIV for years (sometimes, even decades) and not have it develop into AIDS. An infected patient could take medication to reduce the risk of transmission. These are called antiretroviral therapy (ART) and may involve a daily cocktail of several prescription pills.
Contact OB-GYN Women’s Center of Lakewood Ranch for a Screening and Treatment
We understand that sexually transmitted diseases are a difficult subject to talk about.
At OB-GYN Women’s Center, we aim to make our patients comfortable. Getting answers to your questions is the first step in getting the treatment you need.
Contact us to schedule an appointment. Because something worse than having a sexually transmitted disease is to leave it untreated. Don’t let it turn into a more serious condition.