Many misconceptions persist about STDs. One common myth is that you’ll know if you get an STD because you’ll have painful symptoms. The truth is that not all STDs present initial symptoms, and sometimes symptoms don’t occur for years.
You also may have heard that you can’t contract an STD if you use condoms. That’s false as well.
All STDs are dangerous to your health in a variety of ways if left unchecked. Women who have an STD and don’t know it can become infertile for life, before ever trying to have children. Major health complications can result from undiagnosed STDs.
Young adults comprise half of all new STD cases, but only 12% underwent STD testing during the past year. If you’re an adult who’s sexually active and has had multiple partners, see us at Nu Wave Medical Center for confidential STD testing. And if you do have an infection, Dr. Gurprit Sekhon can treat it immediately, eliminating further risk to your health.
Following are STDs that may not present initial symptoms.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is a common STD. A study published by the National Cancer Institute estimates that about four in five adults contract an HPV infection during their lifetime. HPV is linked directly to certain cancers. In fact, nearly all cases of cervical and anal cancer result from untreated HPV, in addition to three-quarters of vaginal cancers and 70% of throat cancers.
An HPV test lets you know if you have the virus. If you do, Dr. Sekhon is extra vigilant about ensuring you get regular Pap smears if you’re a woman. Pap smears show early precancerous changes in cells in the cervix, and then Dr. Sekhon can treat you to prevent cancer before it develops.
Chlamydia is an STD prevalent in young women, but it also occurs in men. You may have no initial symptoms. Several weeks after being infected, women may experience vaginal symptoms such as pain, burning, or a discharge. Dr. Sekhon treats chlamydia with oral antibiotics, and the cure rate is 95%.
But if chlamydia in women goes undiagnosed for a prolonged period of time, the infection may move from the vagina through the urinary tract and into the uterus and fallopian tubes. Undiagnosed chlamydia can result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), another more serious disease. PID can scar your fallopian tubes. If you do get pregnant, you risk an ectopic pregnancy, which can be very dangerous for both mother and baby.
PID can also result in infertility. Undiagnosed chlamydia in men can cause urethral and other infections.
The majority of adults often don’t have symptoms when initially infected with gonorrhea. When symptoms are present, they can mimic those of a bladder infection.
For women, gonorrhea, like chlamydia, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, scarring your fallopian tubes. Gonorrhea during pregnancy can cause blindness in your baby.
In men and women, if gonorrhea is untreated, you’re greater at risk of contracting HIV, which causes AIDS. Gonorrhea can also result in serious blood, brain, heart, and joint infections.
The good news is that gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics. You can avoid health complications by receiving early treatment.
Herpes is a virus of two types: Type 1 causes infections in your mouth and Type 2 causes painful genital sores that can form blisters. You can contract herpes and not be aware of it because not everyone gets the painful herpes sores. In fact, you can have a herpes outbreak and have no open sores, yet still spread the virus. There is no cure for this viral infection.
Stress is a major factor in the frequency of herpes outbreaks. Dr. Sekhon can prescribe an antiviral medication to ease your symptoms and stop the spread of the virus.
Call us at Nu Wave Medical Center for STD testing and all of your internal medicine needs.