How simple STI testing makes 4 common STIs easily treatable

14 April 2023

When it comes to your overall health, it’s important to stay in the know about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). STIs typically aren’t something people want to talk about; however, it turns out that half of the most common STIs can be cured or treated if caught early. So we should talk about them.

That’s because many common STIs have no early signs or symptoms in the majority of people infected. Untreated STIs can lead to reproductive health problems like infertility. The only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested. If you’re sexually active, getting tested is the most powerful tool to protect your health and others from STIs.

Common STIs that are easily cured if caught early

Early detection means catching infections and diseases before they get worse. Fortunately, 4 of the 8 most common STIs can be cured or treated if caught early: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. Passed from one person to another (and infecting both men and women) through vaginal, oral or anal sex, common STIs need to be talked about and tested for—this helps ensure a healthy life for you and others.

Syphilis is a bacterial STI that can be treated early with a simple treatment of penicillin. There are four stages of syphilis (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary). Each stage has different signs and symptoms. Left untreated, however, it can cause serious health problems like brain damage, blindness or paralysis.

Gonorrhea is a bacterial STI that can often be treated with a single dose of antibiotic, and other regimens are available if it is caught early. If not, it can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, cervix, and even the throat.

Chlamydia is a bacterial STI that is treatable with antibiotics. Chlamydia often has no symptoms but it can lead to serious health problems, even without symptoms. In women, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which could lead to infertility.

Trichomoniasis (or “trich”) is a curable STI that is easily treated with antibiotics if caught early. Caused by infection from a parasite, its symptoms vary from person to person, and most people can’t tell they’re infected.

If you have been infected with one of these four common STIs, you may be asymptomatic (showing no symptoms), which means it may be difficult to know when to test. That’s why it’s recommended to screen every year for common STIs if you’re sexually active.

The other four common STIs are viral infections—hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and human papillomavirus (HPV)—and are not yet curable. However, treatments do exist that can minimize or eliminate symptoms, the damage these viruses can cause in your body,  and the risk of transmission. You can help control the spread and protect others by getting tested for these STIs and seeking appropriate treatments.

Protect others and yourself through routine STI screening

Knowing your STI status is one of the best ways to stay informed about your sexual health—this helps protect you and others. So how often should you get tested? The CDC is good resource for STI screening recommendations on who should get STI testing and when to get tested.

If you are sexually active, screening once a year gives you insight into your current sexual health—a simple urine test your provider can order or that you can order yourself, like the one from Labcorp OnDemand, can screen for gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis, all in one. Screening for syphilis will require a blood test, as this test looks for specific antibodies in your blood that may indicate an infection. These are relatively routine screenings, which means you can get the results you need fast. Then, you and your p can determine next steps—including treatment if necessary.

Early detection means more timely STI treatments

Your health is always in your hands. By getting STI screened, you’re making a commitment to your health and the health of others since half of the most common STIs are treatable or curable if detected early.

Improve your chances of a longer and healthier life and your chances of better future reproductive health by speaking with your provider about screening for STIs and get tested today.

Learn more about what you can do today to protect your health