As discussed in our previous blog, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have unique risk factors for different types of people. While most STDs are preventable, millions of adults in the U.S will likely have at least one common STD.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over two million adults in the United States will contract a new STD on average. Additionally, the three most common STDs that adults are likely to have include gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
These three STDs usually have infection rates in the many of thousands, and sometimes millions, each year depending upon the virality of each. However, gonorrhea and chlamydia consistently remain as the most infectious STDs each year. Syphilis is usually less infectious, but cases of the disease have spiked in recent years.
So what should patients do if they have these diseases? What are the first steps for prevention and how can one identify symptoms for each? What should you know about preventing, and managing, common STDs?
Chlamydia is the most infectious STD in the U.S but is highly treatable
Chlamydia is the most infectious disease the U.S and affects nearly 1.7 million adults each year. Thankfully, Chlamydia is both highly preventable as well as treatable under most circumstances. The main symptoms of a chlamydia infection include:
- For Men:
- Discharge from the penis
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Painful or swollen testicles
- For Women:
- An abnormal vaginal discharge;
- A burning sensation when urinating.
Chlamydia is preventable through abstinence and the use of protection when engaging in any sexual activity. In addition, reducing risky sexual behaviors such as having multiple partners can help drive down your chances of getting chlamydia.
A doctor can treat chlamydia with medication when caught after a screening or test.
Gonorrhea is both easily preventable and treatable
Gonorrhea affects roughly 555,000 cases per year is most predominantly affected by teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24. Anyone in this age group who is sexually active is at an increased risk for gonorrhea.
The most common symptoms for gonorrhea include the following, which are almost identical to other STDs:
- For Men:
- A burning sensation when urinating (same for women)
- A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis
- Painful or swollen testicles in very mild cases
- For Women:
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
A doctor can test for gonorrhea by using a urine sample to detect the infection. If a patient has gonorrhea, it can be cured through treatment with medication. The only way to avoid gonorrhea is through abstinence, just like other STDs, but there are a few ways to reduce your likelihood of getting the disease in other ways.
Patients can prevent gonorrhea infection by using protection like latex condoms and by having a monogamous sexual relationship. Your risks of gonorrhea increase as you engage in more risky sexual behaviors and have more sexual partners.
Syphilis can lead to other major healthcare complications if left untreated
Syphilis is far less common than the other two conditions on this list but may likely have the most significant impact on overall health.
Syphilis comes in four stages: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Starting with primary state syphilis, each stage gets progressively worse as the disease continues to spread in the body. By the time syphilis develops into the tertiary stage, patients may experience organ failure and even death.
Luckily, it takes between 10 to 15 years for syphilis to become latent or tertiary. Most individuals can screen for syphilis and treat it when it is an earlier stage.
When identified, syphilis can be treated and cured with the proper medications. Patients should understand that syphilis has many identifiable symptoms including:
- Single or multiple sores on the body or genital area
- Fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes
- Headache, muscle ache, and fatigue
These are just a few of the symptoms of syphilis as many adults may not fully realize if they have the disease. Preventing syphilis also requires a consistent effort from sexually-active adults in the form of screenings and preventive care.
Make sure you’re on top of your STD screenings at AFC Urgent Care Denver!
In general, the average adult will need multiple STD screenings in their lifetime. For your screening needs make sure you visit one of our four AFC Urgent Care locations across the greater Denver area.
All patients get access to the following amenities at any of our AFC locations:
- Board-certified physician care to help coordinate your STD treatment and screenings
- Discreet and private testing as well as same-day results for multiple STDs
- Ability to pay with most major insurance as well as affordable out-of-pocket rates for patients paying without insurance ($299 special for screening for 8 STDs without insurance)
All our locations accept patients on a walk-in basis, so you’ll never need an appointment! Patients can also schedule an appointment using the links below if they don’t want to wait: