Can STDs go away on their own?

There is a lot of stigma around STDs, so people usually don't like to look for treatment and hope that they will resolve on their own. That can be very dangerous. Untreated STDs can cause life-threatening conditions.
Can STDs go away on their own?
Viktor Simunović, Dr.med.
Dr.med. Viktor Simunović
25 January 2024.

There are numerous myths and misconceptions about STDs that can create confusion. One of the most prominent queries is whether sexually transmitted diseases can resolve themselves without medical intervention.

Some STDs, like certain types of HPV and Hepatitis B, can resolve on their own with time. However, many STDs, such as herpes, HIV, and syphilis, need to be treated. Even for those who can technically clear up on their own, treatment is usually necessary to prevent complications and transmission to others.

What STDs can resolve on their own?

  1. Human Papillomavirus (HPV): In most cases, HPV goes away on its own due to the body's immune system response. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 90% of new HPV infections, including those with high-risk types, clear or become undetectable within two years. However, there's no way to predict who can clear the virus and who won't. In some cases, certain types of HPV can lead to cervical cancer or other types of genital cancers if not cleared.

  2. Hepatitis B: Most adults infected with Hepatitis B can clear the virus from their bodies within six months. This is known as acute Hepatitis B. However, sometimes, the virus can cause a long-term infection called chronic Hepatitis B, which can lead to serious health issues like cirrhosis or liver cancer.

  3. Molluscum contagiosum: According to the article from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Molluscum contagiosum is self - limiting disease and can clear up on their own within 6 to 12 months. However, it can sometimes take up to 4 years. The body fights off the virus over time. A healthy immune system will eventually eliminate the infection, and immunity to the virus may develop after the lesions are gone.

There is a debate whether lesions associated with this disease (MCV lesions) should be treated to reduce the risk of sexual transmission and to prevent autoinoculation or allowed to resolve spontaneously.

Importance of understanding STDs

Understanding sexually transmitted diseases is important primarily because it aids in prevention and control. Awareness about STDs allows individuals to make informed decisions about their sexual health, reducing the risk of contracting or transmitting these diseases.

Additionally, it helps to eradicate the stigma associated with these diseases. Misconceptions and lack of knowledge often lead to discrimination and ostracization of affected individuals. This is where online STD treatment can help. By booking an online consultation with a medical professional, you can get a diagnosis, treatment, antibiotics, and other medications from the privacy of your home.

The risks of untreated STDs

Untreated sexually transmitted diseases can cause serious health problems.

If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS, a severe, life-threatening immunodeficiency condition. It can make people more susceptible to infections and diseases, including cancers.

Certain types of HPV can lead to cervical, anal, oral, and penile cancers if untreated.

Although it doesn't have life-threatening consequences, untreated herpes can lead to painful, recurrent outbreaks, and it can be transmitted to others, including newborns during childbirth, which can be severe.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, if untreated, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, leading to chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancies, and infertility. Studies have shown that the incidence of PID can be up to 30%. In men, they can cause epididymitis, a painful condition of the ducts attached to the testicles that may lead to infertility.

Untreated syphilis can lead to severe complications, including brain, nerve, eye, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joint damage.

Hepatitis B and C can lead to chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer and can be fatal if left untreated.

Importance of seeking medical advice for STDs

Regular testing allows for early detection, preventing complications and further transmission. It is also essential to inform your sexual partners about your STD status so they can also seek medical advice.

You will receive the appropriate treatment for your condition by seeking medical advice. This could involve medication, treatment of symptoms, or management strategies for long-term STDs.

Dealing with an STD can be emotionally challenging; medical professionals can provide emotional support, counseling, and advice on managing the condition.

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