Between 2018 and now, some sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), decreased while others increased. We’re using the term STI regarding statistics as that’s how the CDC reports these. You may be more familiar with the older term ‘sexually transmitted disease” or STD. Either way, we’re discussing the same health issues. STIs and STDs are infections or diseases that are spread via sexual activities, casual contact, childbirth, and blood.

Over five years, the CDC collected data on the diagnosis and treatment of these four STDs in particular, though there are many others. 

  • Chlamydia – Rates decreased by 6.2% to almost 1.65 million people.
  • Congenital Syphilis – Rates increased by 183.4% to 3,755 people.
  • Gonorrhea – Rates increased by 11.1% to 648,056 people.
  • Syphilis – Rates increased by 78.9% to 203,500 people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports more than 30 different types of bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can be spread from one person to another through sexual contact, childbirth, breastfeeding, etc. 

Eight are tied to the most cases and four are curable. Viral infections like hepatitis B, Herpes simplex virus, HIV, and HPV are viruses that have to be treated and precautions need to be followed to prevent their spread. However, some also have vaccinations to help prevent them.

Taking precautions isn’t a bad thing. If a series of vaccinations can protect you or children you might have, it’s worth learning more. We’ll explore the most common STIs, who is at risk, how to get tested, and where to go for these tests.

Explore the Curable STDs

The four common curable STDs are found below, and we’ll cover what they are, how they’re transmitted, and what treatment options are available.


A bacterial infection causes chlamydia, and there are rarely any symptoms until weeks later. Some people do not experience symptoms at all. It does damage a woman’s reproductive system and is known to increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and ectopic pregnancies, which is a pregnancy where the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus in a fallopian tube 90% of the time. It can also implant in the ovary, cervix, or even the abdomen in extremely rare cases.

Symptoms for either men or women include a burning sensation when urinating or abnormal discharge. Men may experience swelling and pain in one or both testicles. Chlamydia can also develop in the rectum and symptoms are similar.

A test for chlamydia is recommended yearly for anyone sexually active who is younger than 25 or who has multiple sex partners. If you’re tested and found to have chlamydia, oral antibiotics are taken for up to a week. If you take your antibiotics correctly, the cure rate is around 95%.


Gonorrhea is another STI linked to bacteria. It’s spread through sexual contact, but it can also be passed from a mother to her child during childbirth. Symptoms are not always apparent, especially in the early stages. Later on, it can cause bleeding between periods, prostate issues, pain when urinating, and infertility.

While antibiotics are the first treatment option, there are drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea. Currently, an injectable antibiotic known as cephalosporin is the best option to avoid drug resistance.


Syphilis is an STI that’s linked to bacteria. It often starts as a sore in the mouth, genitals, or rectum that passes on bacteria through contact. This sore will heal on its own in a few weeks. For this reason, it can also spread through childbirth. The bacteria can be present for years without symptoms.

In the second stage, you may develop a rash on the chest, stomach, back, and pelvis. This rash may be accompanied by a sore throat, fever, fatigue, and muscle aches that are easily written off as the flu or a bad cold. If it still isn’t treated or diagnosed, it can worsen and eventually impact the brain, eyes, heart, and nerves.

An injection of penicillin is the recommended treatment for syphilis. If you have an allergic reaction to penicillin, oral antibiotics are the alternative. For cases of syphilis that have been undiagnosed for over a year, multiple treatments may be necessary.


This bacterial STI is one of the most common and there rarely are symptoms. Unusual vaginal discharge is one of the most prevalent symptoms.  It’s just as common in people over the age of 24 as it is in younger adults. Condoms are the best preventative measure. 

If trichomoniasis goes untreated, infertility and cervical cancer are one risk. Treatment options include oral antibiotics taken twice a day for an entire week. 

Now Look at the Other Four Viruses

That’s the curable STDs. Here are the viral STDs that don’t always go away, but you can learn how to manage them.

Hepatitis B

While the other STDs are all bacterial, hepatitis B is one of the more common viral infections. If left untreated, hepatitis B can cause liver damage. Most doctors routinely screen people for it now, especially those who are pregnant, have multiple sexual partners, have hepatitis C, have had abnormal results on a liver enzyme blood test, use illegal injected drugs, or live with someone who has it.

If the disease is acute, treatment isn’t usually recommended. A healthy diet, extra rest, and fluids are often recommended. If it’s chronic, antiviral drugs or Interferon injections may be recommended. Severe liver damage also needs to be addressed, which may mean a liver transplant.

The CDC recommends every adult under the age of 60 get the two- or three-part vaccine series. 

If you’re 60 or older and have any of the risk factors, the vaccination is also recommended.

Herpes Simplex 

Herpes is a virus that cannot be cured. There are different types. Oral herpes (HSV-1) appears in or around the mouth. Genital herpes (HSV-2) is found in and around the vagina or on the anus, buttocks, or penis. While those are common areas for the sores, they can appear anywhere on the skin and in the eyes.

The sores are one of the signs, but there are a few others that can occur. You might find it burns when you urinate. Flu-like symptoms are common, too.

Treating outbreaks is important to prevent the spread. It’s also important to not be sexually active during an outbreak. Antiviral medications, such as ointments, oral medications, and injections are common.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an incurable virus that can lead to AIDS, but treatment options have come a long way. It’s no longer the death sentence it used to be. Treatment includes antiretroviral therapy that lowers the amount of the virus in your bloodstream. These treatments can be taken orally or through injections.

Once you have HIV, you need to have viral load tests every few months to check the levels of HIV in your blood. If the levels are undetected, it’s safe to have sexual intercourse with others, but remember there’s always a risk and that condoms are best for preventing the spread of any STD.


Many people have HPV and don’t realize it. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is tied to many types of warts, such as plantar warts, but genital HPV can cause specific types of cancer, including cervical cancer. The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact. 

Women up to the age of 65 need to go for pap smears every three years. After the age of 65, tests are no longer necessary if there have been three normal tests in a row.

Gardasil 9 is a vaccine approved by the FDA that protects against HPV.  It’s recommended that children get this vaccination before becoming sexually active. It’s approved for adults up to the age of 45.

Premium Urgent Care offers a full range of tests and treatments for STDs. Most tests involve a simple blood draw, but a swab from open sores may be required for some STDs.

 If you want to get vaccinations for hepatitis B or HPV, we can help you get those series completed too. It’s our goal to help you get the treatment you need to help you avoid extra stress and anxiety. Check-in online to be seen quickly by our doctors.