Broadway Family Clinic

I Think I Have an STD: What Should I Do?

Mar 06, 2024

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I Think I Have an STD: What Should I Do?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are bacterial, viral, or fungal infections that pass from one person to another through blood, semen, vaginal, and other bodily fluids. They become sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) when the infection produces symptoms of disease.

STDs don’t always produce symptoms, though, or they may only cause mild symptoms, which means it’s possible to have an infection and not know it. That’s why, if you’re sexually active, you should get tested periodically to ensure everything’s okay. And if you get a positive STD diagnosis, know that all are treatable with medication, and some are even curable entirely.

At Broadway Family Clinic, board-certified family physicians Dr. Kashif Siddiqui and Dr. Sumera Muzaffar offer STD testing for their patients in the Pearland, Texas, area. If you suspect you have any form of an STD, it’s important to come into the office for testing and treatment. Here’s why.

STD risk factors

There are risk factors for getting an STD. They include:

Having unprotected sex

Having vaginal or anal sex with a partner who isn't wearing a latex or polyurethane condom is one of the biggest risks. Condoms made from natural membranes aren't as effective at preventing some STIs, and failing to use condoms properly, or not every time you have sex, can also increase your risk.

And while oral sex may be less risky, STIs can still spread if you don’t use a condom or a dental dam, a thin, square piece of rubber made of latex or silicone.

Having sex with many partners

The more people you have sexual activity with, especially if you don’t know their medical status, the greater your risk.

Having a history of STIs

Having an STI makes it much easier for another STI to take up residence because it “primes” the landscape.

Misuse of alcohol or recreational drugs

Inappropriate substance use can inhibit your judgment and make you more willing to take part in risky behaviors. Sharing a needle for drug use can spread many serious infections. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are three such examples.

Spread from mothers to infants

If a mother is pregnant or delivering the child and has an STI, it can easily be passed from mother to infant. Examples include gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, and syphilis. STIs in infants may lead to serious health problems or even death. All pregnant women should be screened for STIs as soon as possible and treated, as appropriate.

Getting tested

If you fall into any of the risk categories, it’s important that you come into Broadway Family Clinic to get tested for STDs. Diagnosis starts with taking a sexual history and noting your current symptoms. If these suggest you have an STD, your physician may perform a physical or pelvic exam to look for indications of infection, such as a rash, warts, or unusual discharge.

Based on our findings, we order lab tests to determine the cause of your symptoms:

  • Blood tests: confirm the diagnosis of HIV or later stages of syphilis
  • Urine sample: some STDs can be diagnosed with a urine sample
  • Fluid samples: test fluid from open genital sores to determine the type of infection

These tests can also diagnose STDs that don’t have symptoms.

Treating STDs

Antibiotics, often given in a single dose, can cure many STIs caused by bacteria or parasites, including gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.

Once you start antibiotic treatment, you need to finish the prescription, even if you feel better before you’re through. This helps prevent the evolution of drug-resistant strains. Wait for seven days once you’ve finished the drug for the sores to heal. At that point you can resume sexual activity.

Medical researchers recommend that people diagnosed with chlamydia be retested three months after treatment due to a high chance of reinfection.

If your STI is a viral infection, antibiotics won’t work at all. If your test was positive for herpes or HIV, the doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine to keep the infection from getting worse.

You'll have fewer herpes recurrences if you engage in daily suppressive therapy with a prescription antiviral medication, but it’s still possible to pass the infection to a partner.

With HIV antivirals, it’s possible to decrease the blood level of the virus so much that it can’t be found. When you reach that point, you won’t pass on the virus to any partners.

If you've had an STD, ask the doctor how long after treatment you’ll need to be retested. Retesting ensures that the treatment worked and that you haven't become reinfected.

If you suspect you have an STD, the first thing you should do is come into Broadway Family Clinic to be tested. To get started, give our office a call at 346-857-0603, or book online with us today.