TreatmentSTIs caused by bacteria are generally easier to treat. Viral infections can be managed but not always cured. Treatment for STIs usually consists of one of the following, depending on the infection:
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics, often in a single dose, can cure many sexually transmitted bacterial and parasitic infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. Typically, you’ll be treated for gonorrhea and chlamydia at the same time because the two infections often appear together. Once you start antibiotic treatment, it’s necessary to finish the prescription. If you don’t think you’ll be able to take medication as prescribed, tell your doctor. A shorter, simpler course of treatment may be available. In addition, it’s important to abstain from sex until seven days after you’ve completed antibiotic treatment and any sores have healed. Experts also suggest women be retested in about three months because there’s a high chance of reinfection.
- Antiviral drugs. If you have herpes or HIV, you’ll be prescribed an antiviral drug. You’ll have fewer herpes recurrences if you take daily suppressive therapy with a prescription antiviral drug. However, it’s still possible to give your partner herpes. Antiviral drugs can keep HIV infection in check for many years. But you will still carry the virus and can still transmit it, though the risk is lower. The sooner you start HIV treatment, the more effective it is. If you take your medications exactly as directed, it’s possible to reduce the viral load in the blood so that it can hardly be detected.