To say that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are widespread would be a massive understatement. There are more than 1 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis across the globe every single day. That’s over 365 million new cases a year.
While these four STDs are curable, they often have no symptoms – putting your health at serious risk without timely treatment. However, the first step in treatment is getting tested. All vybe urgent care centers offer discreet and confidential STD testing, with rapid STD testing available at our Center City, PCOM, and University City locations.
Let’s take a closer look at these curable STDs, how you get them, how they’re treated, and why regular STD testing is the key to protecting yourself and others.
Chlamydia spreads through having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with another person who has the infection, with or without semen present. You cannot get it from kissing or other casual contact.
Chlamydia is most common among young people. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one of every 20 sexually active young women between the ages of 14 and 24 has chlamydia.
Chlamydia is a “silent” infection, meaning that most people don’t have symptoms. An untreated chlamydia infection can last for weeks, months, or even years without being detected. If symptoms do occur, they may not appear until up to three weeks after having sex with someone who has chlamydia – during which time you could also infect others.
Chlamydia symptoms in women include:
Chlamydia symptoms in men include:
Yes, chlamydia is unlikely to cause long-term health problems when it’s treated early. Chlamydia can easily be cleared up with antibiotics in just a week or two.
But without symptoms, many cases of chlamydia go unnoticed. Untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and/or chronic pelvic pain – making regular STD testing essential.
Repeat infection of chlamydia is also common, especially without appropriate treatment. The CDC recommends notifying all recent sex partners (anyone within 60 days before diagnosis) and retesting three months after treatment to prevent reinfection.
Gonorrhea is transmitted through sexual contact with the penis, vagina, anus, or mouth of an infected person. The bacteria that cause gonorrhea thrive in warm, moist areas like the mouth and throat, which means kissing can lead to infection.
Gonorrhea is sometimes referred to as the “clap,” thanks to a historical treatment for gonorrhea in men that involved clapping both sides of the penis at the same time to remove pus-filled discharge (thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then).
Most women with gonorrhea have no symptoms – and even when they do, they are often mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Gonorrhea symptoms in women include:
Gonorrhea symptoms in men include:
A gonorrhea infection in the anus may cause discharge, itching, soreness, bleeding, and/or painful bowel movements.
The above symptoms may come and go, but a gonorrhea infection never goes away without treatment.
Yes, gonorrhea can be cured with the right treatment, typically an antibiotic called ceftriaxone. However, drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing. If your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you’ll need further evaluation.
Avoid having sex until you have completed treatment and your symptoms are gone, which will help prevent you from giving or getting gonorrhea again.
Unfortunately, treatment cannot undo any permanent damage caused by the infection. Like chlamydia, untreated gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. In men, gonorrhea can also cause a painful condition in the tubes attached to the testicles – all the more reason to visit vybe for regular STD testing.
Trichomoniasis, or “trich” for short, is the most common curable STD. The parasite that causes the infection (trichomonas) spreads easily via semen, pre-ejaculate, vaginal secretions, and other sexual fluids. Trich is often passed during vaginal sex, but also by sharing sex toys or touching your own or your partner’s genitals with infected fluids on your hand.
Trich typically infects the vagina, vulva, penis, and urethra but usually does not infect the anus or mouth. Therefore, you can’t get infected with trich by kissing, sharing food or drinks, holding hands, sitting on a toilet, etc.
Most people with trich don’t have any symptoms but can still spread it to others. Without treatment, the infection can last for years – even if symptoms only come and go. When present, trich symptoms range anywhere from mild irritation to severe inflammation.
Trich symptoms in women include:
Trich symptoms in men include:
The only way to cure trich is to treat it with antibiotics. Your healthcare provider will likely prescribe metronidazole or tinidazole.
Like all STDs, it’s essential for your sexual partners also to seek treatment. Otherwise, you could continue passing the infection back and forth or to new sexual partners. According to the CDC, trich reinfection occurs in one of every five people within the first few months after treatment.
Untreated trich increases your chances of getting or spreading other STDs, including HIV. Pregnant women with trich are also more likely to have premature or low-weight babies. Getting tested regularly at vybe can help ensure that you stay trich-free.
Syphilis spreads through direct contact with a syphilitic sore (also known as a chancre), typically through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Chancres can occur in, on, or around the penis, vagina, anus, or mouth. Therefore, it’s possible to transmit syphilis via kissing – because chancres are small and often painless, they might go unnoticed in someone’s mouth.
Syphilis infection is more common in men, and men who have sex with men are diagnosed with syphilis more than any other group.
Syphilis symptoms can mimic many other diseases, yet the infection usually follows a series of stages:
At any stage of infection, syphilis can also impact your nervous system, vision, hearing, and balance.
Yes, antibiotics can cure syphilis, but there’s no way to repair organs damaged by the infection. Penicillin is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic to treat syphilis. How much you need and how long you take it will depend on your syphilis stage and symptoms. If treatment is needed, we will refer you to the health department.
If you test positive for syphilis, it’s important to contact any sex partners you’ve had for the last two years and let them know they should also be tested. Your vybe clinician will test you again after treatment to make sure the infection is gone. But you can get syphilis again, so be sure to get tested regularly.
If you need results fast, rapid STD testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis is available at our Center City, PCOM, and University City locations. The test is for females and is $280, self-pay only). Or visit any vybe center for non-rapid STD testing and get your results in just a few days.
All vybe urgent care centers have licensed medical professionals with a wide range of healthcare knowledge. Walk in or schedule an appointment at your local vybe urgent care today for same-day STD testing and receive treatment if necessary.FIND YOUR VYBE