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What are the treatments for sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections (STDs/STIs)?

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STDs/STIs caused by bacteria, yeast, or parasites can be treated with antibiotics. These antibiotics are most often given by mouth (orally). However, sometimes they are injected or applied directly to the affected area. Whatever the infection, and regardless of how quickly the symptoms resolve after beginning treatment, the infected person must take all of the medicine prescribed by the health care provider to ensure that the STD/STI is completely treated.

Although treatments, complications, and outcomes vary among viral STDs/STIs depending on the particular virus (HIV, genital herpes, human papillomavirus, hepatitis, or cytomegalovirus), health care providers can provide treatments to reduce the symptoms and the progression of most of these illnesses. For example, medications are available to limit the frequency and severity of genital herpes outbreaks while reducing the risk that the virus will be passed on to other people.

Individuals with HIV need to take special antiretroviral drugs that control the amount of virus they carry. These drugs, called highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART,1 can help people live longer, healthier lives. If a woman with HIV becomes pregnant, these medicines also can reduce the chance that her fetus or infant will get the infection.

Being tested and treated for STDs/STIs is especially important for pregnant women because some STDs/STIs may be passed on to their infants during pregnancy or delivery. Testing women for these STDs/STIs early in their pregnancy is important, so that steps can be taken to help ensure delivery of a healthy infant. The necessary treatment will depend on the type of STD/STI involved.


  1. Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents. (2012). Guidelines for the use of antiretroviral agents in HIV-1-infected adults and adolescents. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved June 3, 2012, from http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/guidelines [top]

Last Updated Date: 04/02/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 05/28/2013
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