There are four common incurable STIs and STDs: HSV/Herpes (Herpes Simplex Virus), HPV (Human Papillomavirus) HBV (Hepatitis B), HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). According to the World Health Organization, globally, people between the ages of 15 to 49 get over 1 million STI and STD infections per day. STIs and STDs are widespread, so in order to stay protected you should have a thorough understanding of the risks and symptoms.
If you think you may have contracted an STI, or if you’re sexually active, then you may want to get tested. With Mira, lab testing is part of your monthly membership. You can get tested with next-day results for $99. Sign up today and schedule your appointment.
STIs vs. STDs
STI stands for “sexually transmitted infections.” On the other hand, STD stands for “sexually transmitted diseases.” Though these terms are mostly interchangeable, there’s a subtle differentiation between them. STI implies that though the person has been infected, the disease has yet to manifest as symptoms or the person isn’t considered infectious to others. For instance, HPV or Herpes isn’t always infectious.
When to Get Tested
When to Get Tested
|Hepatitis B||3 weeks to 2 months after exposure|
|HPV||3 to 6 months after exposure|
|HIV||4 weeks to 3 months after exposure|
|Herpes||2 weeks to 2 months after exposure|
4 Most Common Incurable STIs and STDs: Statistics, Symptoms, and Treatments
To protect yourself and others, you should stay up to date with the latest facts regarding the most common incurable STIs. The graphic below shows a breakdown of how many people, roughly, contract the most widely spread STDs.
The World Health Organization estimates that around 240 million people have Hepatitis B. Advanced forms of Hepatitis B may lead to advanced liver disease. People with chronic Hepatitis B can show symptoms that are similar to short-term Hepatitis B such as nausea, loss of appetite, fever, fatigue, jaundice, vomiting, and darkening of urine.
Even though people with chronic Hepatitis B may not show symptoms, they can still transmit the disease to other people. Hepatitis B can be treated with these antiviral medications that stop liver damage and fend against the virus:
- Entecavir (Baraclude ®)
- Tenofovir (Viread ®)
- Lamivudine (Epivir ®)
In addition to these medications, there’s a vaccine that can prevent you from getting Hepatitis B.
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The World Health Organization has concluded that in 2019, 38 million people had HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) worldwide. That year, according to their statistics, 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV. By taking antiretroviral therapy medications, people with HIV can decrease their viral load and stop the virus from multiplying.
In addition to preventing HIV from becoming AIDs (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), a condition that weakens the immune system which can lead to cancers and infections from making someone sick, these medications can prevent transmission to other people.
These are the medications that can decrease the virus load and stop the virus from multiplying:
- Delavirdine (Rescriptor®)
- Doravirine (Pifeltro®)
- Efavirenz (Sustiva®)
Around the world, 300 million women have HPV (Human Papillomavirus). This STI has been shown to lead to cervical cancer. Though most people don’t show symptoms, a common symptom of HPV are genital warts. These are the medications that can genital warts related to HPV:
- Trichloroacetic acid
- Imiquimod cream
There’s a vaccine available to prevent HPV from leading to cervical cancer. If you already have contracted a strain of HPV, the HPV vaccine can offer protection from other strains of the virus.
Worldwide, 500 million people are estimated to have Herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes). HSV is the virus that leads to genital herpes and oral herpes. According to the Center for Disease Control, in the United States, one out of six people between the ages of 14-49 have genital herpes. Though there isn’t a cure to Herpes simplex virus, there are a myriad of antiviral medications which can reduce the frequency of outbreaks and the length of time of an outbreak:
- Acyclovir (Zovirax®)
- Famciclovir (Famvir®)
- Valacyclovir (Valtrex®)
To get treatments for STIs, you need to make a consultation with a medical provider. If you have a Mira membership, you can get access to both a next-day STI test and a doctor who can treat the condition for you.
The Best and Most Effective Ways To Prevent STIs and STDs
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for Human Papillomavirus, Herpes simplex virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and Hepatitis B. However, there are numerous easy and effective ways to prevent the spread of these diseases. If you want more information about how to prevent STIs, you should reach out to your primary care doctor. As a responsible, sexually active adult, you should discuss these preventative methods with your partners.
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There are vaccines available for Human Papillomavirus and Hepatitis B. If you have yet to get either vaccine, talk to your doctor about getting them.
Reducing Your Number of Sexual Partners
If you have fewer sexual partners, you have a lowered risk of contracting an STI. When you’re single and dating, it could be helpful to be more selective about who you have penetrative or oral sex with to decrease your chances of getting an STI. Being in a mutually monogamous relationship also can lower your risk of getting an STI. However, even if you decide to be monogamous with someone, you should both get tested before engaging in sexual activity.
STD Partner Testing and Treatment
A crucial part of lowering your risk of contracting an incurable STI is to be transparent with your partner. Before engaging in any sexual activity for the first time, ask your partner these questions:
- Do you have an STI?
- When was the last time you were tested for STIs?
- Do you have other sexual partners?
- If you have an STI, are you currently taking treatments?
- Do you have protection?
By being fully transparent and having a frank conversation about your sexual histories and boundaries, you can potentially prevent contracting STIs. If your partner hasn’t had a recent HIV test, you can wait for them to take one before engaging in sexual activity.
There are two different kinds of HIV tests: antibody tests and A Nat. It’s important to note that these tests aren’t able to determine whether or not you have contracted immediately following infection. Therefore, people who suspect they may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours should reach out to their medical providers about getting access to PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) as soon as possible.
Are you unsure about how often you should get an STI test? Here’s what you should know:
- It’s recommended that all sexually active people get tested at least once on an annual basis.
- Experts recommend that gay and bisexual men who are sexually active should get tested frequently for HIV (once every 3 to 6 months). You should also get tested for HIV if you find out you contracted another STI, had multiple partners since the last time you were tested or did a sexual activity with an individual who has HIV.
- When it comes to Herpes, you should only get tested if you’re showing symptoms, know that your partner has it, or have had numerous sexual partners, and want to know your status about all STIs.
You and your partner can get tested at a hospital, clinic, or a local testing lab through Mira. With a Mira membership, you can get an STD panel (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis) for $99. At numerous facilities, an STD panel can cost upwards of $400 for people who don’t have the necessary healthcare coverage.
Using latex male or female condoms is a way to reduce your risk of contracting or spreading an STI to your partner. Though it doesn’t entirely eliminate risk, the Centers for Disease Control have determined that when condoms are properly used, they are effective. If you are sexually active and meeting up with a partner, you should bring condoms with you or have them readily available in your bedroom. You can also discuss with your partner which type of barrier protection works best for the two of you.
By getting regular testing, you are doing your part in reducing the spread of these diseases and protecting yourself. If you have just started a new relationship with someone, you should both get tested and have an honest conversation about your sexual history. In addition, you should determine which method of safe sex works best for the two of you. People who have an incurable STI/STD should take prescription medications to stop the spread of the disease to other people.
Let’s face it: navigating healthcare insurance plans, prescription medications, doctors, clinics, and exams can get a bit complicated. With Mira, you can get the information, testing, and care you need through a single resource. If you need a test or quick care then sign up today and get started for an affordable membership fee of $45.
Before joining Mira, Jeff was the Vice President of Marketing at Clipboard Health, a healthcare staffing tech company, where he led marketing and acquisition. At Clipboard, Jeff was able to help the company achieve 12 straight months of top-of-funnel growth and 10 straight months of revenue growth. Prior to Clipboard Health, Jeff was General Manager at FitSmallBusiness.com, an online publication dedicated to helping small business owners. He has been featured in publications such as The Week, Forbes, USNews, CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, The Street, Investopedia, Cosmopolitan, and more.