Will a sexually transmitted disease go away on its own? In time, the body has the capacity to fight off bacteria and viruses, right? While this statement may be true for some conditions, it’s not universally applicable to all diseases.
Because of the shame linked to STDs, many people don’t seek testing and a subsequent treatment in hopes that the situation will get resolved without an intervention. Unfortunately, such an approach of waiting and doing nothing can have very serious (and permanent) health consequences down the line.
What Happens if You Don’t Treat Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and Other Bacterial Infections
Some STDs are caused by bacteria. As such, these conditions can be treated with a round of antibiotics.
Not treating a bacterial infection in hopes of it going away isn’t going to lead to anything good.
It’s possible for the symptoms of gonorrhoea and chlamydia to resolve in some time. This gets some people thinking the condition’s over. This isn’t the case.
Even in the absence of symptoms, the bacteria are doing their damage. Both infections can affect fertility while also increasing the risk of contracting other STDs like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Both gonorrhoea and chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease – a condition that gradually damages the tissues of the organs in the reproductive tract. This damage is permanent and very often – irreversible. Pelvic inflammatory disease has been linked to difficulties getting pregnant, miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies.
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can also be passed from mother to baby during childbirth.
It takes about one year for untreated chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis infections to lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. Getting tested regularly is the best way to reduce the risk of this happening and to undergo adequate treatment as soon as possible.
Will Syphilis Go Away on Its Own
Syphilis is another common STD. While it is also caused by a bacterium, untreated syphilis can have even more dire consequences than the conditions mentioned above.
Today, syphilis is very easy to treat with penicillin. Before the discovery of this staple antibiotic, however, the STD was highly feared. There’s a valid reason why.
Syphilis develops in stages. Most of those don’t produce symptoms and even when there are signs (usually appearing during a flare-up), these resolve within short periods of time. Hence, syphilis is another sneaky condition that does its damage silently.
The original infection is called primary syphilis and it turns into secondary syphilis within four to eight weeks. During the second stage, most people experience rashes and lesions across the body. These will go away without treatment.
Tertiary syphilis has the bacterium attacking an array of organs – the brain, liver, lungs. Severe damage to the nervous system, the heart and other organs will occur. In some instances, this damage leads to a lethal outcome.
As you can see, not treating syphilis is not a good idea. Taking any chances with such a condition is beyond foolish, especially given the accuracy of syphilis tests and the effectiveness of the penicillin treatment.
The Consequences of Untreated Herpes
Herpes is a condition that as of now cannot be cured.
Reading this, you may think that not seeking medical attention is a good idea in that instance.
While it can’t be eradicated, herpes can be managed successfully with anti-virals. These aren’t always needed but a medical professional will have to do a thorough assessment first.
The frequency of herpes outbreaks, sexual history and health condition are all taken into account to determine whether anti-viral medications will be administered to someone who has herpes.
You probably have no illusions about the results of leaving an active HIV infection untreated but we still need to discuss the details.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replicates by attacking parts of the immune system. More specifically, it attaches itself to T-cells (also known as fighter cells). As the virus replicates, the normal T-cell count starts to decline.
As the virus decreases the capability of the immune system to respond to threats, it increases the risk of opportunistic infections. Eventually, the T-cell count will become so low that a person with HIV will be diagnosed with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
So, to be highly specific, HIV itself isn’t going to kill a person. It, however, undermines the body’s defences. This is the reason why even a mild infection can be especially dangerous for a person with AIDS.
The good news is that HIV doesn’t have to be a death sentence. The progression to AIDS can be stopped. People who are on antiretroviral medications for HIV often reach an undetectable status. That means that the virus can no longer be detected in their bodies. Seeking treatment is the best way to ensure a long, happy and fulfilling life.
Do You Need to Treat HPV Infections
The human papillomavirus is a main cause of several kinds of cancer, cervical being the most prominent one.
There’s no treatment for an infection with HPV. So technically, you don’t have to do anything about it.
Knowing that you have HPV and also determining which strain of the virus you carry, however, can help you determine how high your risk of malignancies is.
Also, knowing your status will give you an opportunity to come up with a course of action. Regular PAP smears, for example, are the best way to determine whether the virus has caused some cancerous changes in the cervix. The earlier you know about those, the easier it will be to seek adequate treatment.
Be Responsible, Get Tested, Get Treated
Waiting for STDs to resolve on their own is irresponsible, both towards yourself and towards your partner.
While there are some conditions we can’t cure today, their management is possible. Untreated infections may eventually lead to some issues, even lethal outcomes. So, why risk it if you could protect yourself and improve your health effortlessly?
Regular STD testing is recommended for everyone who is sexually active and not just people who engage in risky behaviour. Knowledge is power and such knowledge is easy to acquire in Singapore.
Men’s sexual health clinics like Shim Clinic simplify testing and getting consulted about sexual/reproductive health. You can find out more by contacting the Shim Clinic team or visiting the clinic during working hours every day of the week.