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7 STDs and How to Protect Yourself

7 STDs and How to Protect Yourself

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are more common than a lot of people think. Dozens of different STDs can affect you, with fallout ranging from minor inconveniences to life-changing repercussions.

If you’re sexually active, it’s important to know the symptoms of the most common STDs. This makes it easier to monitor yourself — which can help to keep you healthy and also can prevent you from unwittingly spreading an infection.

If you think you might have an STD, we offer convenient STD testing at our SmartClinic Urgent Care clinics in West Covina and Santa Clarita, California. Here, we’ve developed a guide to seven of the most common STDs to help you protect your health. 

1. Chlamydia 

One of the more common STDs, chlamydia can make it harder for women to get pregnant if it goes untreated for too long. The most common symptoms of chlamydia are an unusual discharge and a burning sensation when you urinate. 

Fortunately, you can cure chlamydia with a medication designed to fight the infection. If you notice the symptoms, don’t wait to get tested so you can start treatment promptly. 

2. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is both common and treatable. Like chlamydia, its primary symptoms include unusual discharge and a burning sensation during urination. Also like chlamydia, it’s treatable with medication. 

It’s important that you get tested if you think you might have gonorrhea and start medication right away because if left untreated, it can cause infertility in both women and men. 

3. Genital herpes 

The herpes simplex virus causes this STD, which can result in symptoms ranging from very minor ones that might be mistaken for an ingrown hair to painful sores. In fact, some people have herpes but don’t show any symptoms. That makes it possible for them to pass herpes to a sexual partner unwittingly. 

If you’re sexually active, regular testing can ensure you don’t unknowingly spread this STD. There’s no cure for genital herpes, but medications can prevent or reduce your outbreaks.

4. Human papillomavirus (HPV)

The most common STI in the country, HPV can cause issues from genital warts to cervical cancer. It’s important to note that it doesn’t cause symptoms in most people. 

Many people get vaccinated for HPV when they’re younger. Because HPV is so prevalent, doctors encourage women to get screened for HPV and cervical cancer via a Pap smear on a regular basis.

5. Syphilis 

Another common but curable STD, syphilis can be serious if left unchecked. It starts with sores and skin rashes, but it can affect major organs like your brain and heart over time. Fortunately, we have antibiotics that can target and eradicate a syphilis infection. 

6. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 

Other STDs heighten your risk of contracting HIV. While some people get flu-like symptoms after getting HIV, others have no symptoms at all. Left untreated, HIV can develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be life-threatening.

To ensure you start HIV treatment early and don’t spread the virus to others, you should get regularly tested if you have multiple partners. 

7. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis may be less well known than some of the other STDs on this list, but it’s still very common. Most people don’t develop symptoms. Those who do experience inflammation that can cause burning and itching, along with unusual discharge and discomfort during sex. 

Fortunately, trichomoniasis is treatable with oral medication. 

STD testing and treatment

As you can see from this list, a lot of the most common STDs don’t cause symptoms. To ensure you’re not living with a condition that can harm your body — and to prevent spreading infection to any of your sexual partners — it’s important to get tested regularly. That’s especially true if you’re sexually active outside of a long-term, monogamous relationship. 

We’re here to help. At our SmartClinic Urgent Care locations, we offer convenient, discreet testing for all of the above infections. To get your test, walk into a SmartClinic Urgent Care clinic today, or call us to schedule your appointment.

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