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General Practice 2023

How to treat the 7 most common STIs

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How to treat the 7 most common STIs
How to treat the 7 most common STIs
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Treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), formerly known as sexually transmitted diseases, or just STDs, varies depending on the specific type of infection. However, most of these diseases are curable and, in many cases, as long as they are identified early, they can even be completely eliminated with a single injection.

Thus, the most important thing is that, whenever there is a suspicion of being infected, an infectious disease specialist or general practitioner is consulted, to carry out the necessary blood tests and start the most appropriate treatment.

Even in the case of diseases that have no cure, such as AIDS, treatment is very important, as it helps to prevent the worsening of the disease and relieve the symptoms, in addition to preventing the transmission of the disease to other people.

Next, we indicate the treatment guidelines present in the clinical protocol of the Ministry of He alth:

1. Chlamydia

Chlamydia is an STI caused by a bacterium known as Chlamydia trachomatis, which can affect both men and women, causing symptoms such as a burning sensation in the urine, pain during sexual contact or itching in the intimate region.

To eliminate the bacteria, the treatment involves the use of antibiotics, as follows:

1st option

Azithromycin 1 g, tablet, in a single dose;

or

Doxycycline 100 mg, tablet, every 12 hours for 7 days

or

Amoxicillin 500 mg, tablet, 8/8h for 7 days

This treatment should always be guided by a doctor, as it may be necessary to adapt to the characteristics of each person. For example, in the case of pregnant women, Doxycycline should not be used.

See the main symptoms of chlamydia and how transmission occurs.

2. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes signs such as yellowish-white discharge, itching and pain when urinating and which normally take up to 10 days to appear after unprotected sexual contact.

The first treatment option includes the use of:

  • Ciprofloxacin 500 mg, tablet, in a single dose, and;
  • Azithromycin 500 mg, 2 tablets, as a single dose.

or

  • Ceftriaxone 500 mg, intramuscular injection, as a single dose, and;
  • Azithromycin 500 mg, 2 tablets, as a single dose.

In pregnant women, and children under 18, ciprofloxacin should be replaced by ceftriaxone.

Better understand what gonorrhea is, its symptoms and how to prevent the infection.

3. HPV

HPV is a group of several viruses of the same type that can infect the reproductive system of both men and women and that, in most cases, only leads to the appearance of small warts, which can be eliminated with the use of creams, cryotherapy or minor surgery. The type of treatment depends on the size, number and places where the warts appear and, therefore, it is always important to have a doctor's guidance.

Check out the available forms of treatment for HPV in more detail.

However, in addition to warts, there are also some types of HPV viruses that can lead to cancer, the best known being cervical cancer in women, especially if the lesions caused by the virus are not treated early.

The treatment of HPV can eliminate the symptoms and even prevent the appearance of cancer, but it does not eliminate the virus from the body. For this reason, symptoms can reappear, and the only way to cure is when the immune system is able to eliminate the virus, which can take several years to happen.

4. Genital herpes

Genital herpes is an STI caused by the same virus that causes cold sores, herpes simplex. This is one of the most frequent STI's that causes the appearance of small blisters filled with fluid in the genital area, which itch and release a slightly yellowish liquid.

Treatment is usually done with acyclovir, a potent antiviral drug against herpes, following the plan:

Herpes Remedy Dose Duration
First episode Acyclovir 200 mg

or

Acyclovir 200 mg

2 tablets every 8 hours1 tablet every 4 hours

7 days7 days

Recurring Acyclovir 200 mg

or

Acyclovir 200 mg

2 tablets every 8 hours1 tablet every 4 hours

5 days5 days

This treatment does not eliminate the virus from the body, but it helps to reduce the intensity and duration of the episodes of signs that appear in the genital region.

See the symptoms that can indicate genital herpes, in men and women.

5. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis, which causes different symptoms in women and men, but usually include painful urination, unpleasant-smelling discharge and intense itching in the genital area.

To treat this infection, the antibiotic Metronidazole is usually used, following the schedule:

  • Metronidazole 400 mg, 5 tablets as a single dose;
  • Metronidazole 250 mg, 2 tablets every 12 hours for 7 days.

In the case of pregnant women, this treatment must be adapted and, therefore, it is important to carry out the treatment with the obstetrician's knowledge.

Check out the symptoms that help to identify a case of trichomoniasis.

6. Syphilis

Syphilis is an STI caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, which can cause different types of symptoms according to the stage it is in, but which is best known for the sores it can cause in the genital region.

To treat syphilis, the drug of choice is penicillin, which should be administered in doses that vary according to the stage of infection:

1. Recent primary, secondary or latent syphilis

Benzathine penicillin G, 2.4 million IU, in a single intramuscular injection, with 1.2 million IU administered in each buttock

The alternative to this treatment is to take Doxycycline 100 mg, 2 times a day, for 15 days. In the case of pregnant women, treatment should be done with Ceftriaxone 1g, in intramuscular injection, for 8 to 10 days.

2. Late latent or tertiary syphilis

Benzathine Penicillin G, 2.4 million IU, by injection per week for 3 weeks

Alternatively, treatment can also be done with Doxycycline 100 mg twice a day for 30 days. Or, in the case of pregnant women, with Ceftriaxone 1g, by intramuscular injection, for 8 to 10 days.

Check out more information about the stages of syphilis and how to identify each one.

7. HIV/AIDS

Although there is no treatment capable of curing HIV infection, there are some antiviral drugs that help to eliminate the viral load in the blood, preventing not only the worsening of the disease, but also preventing the transmission of the infection.

Some of the antivirals that can be used include Lamivudine, Tenofovir, Efavirenz or Didanosine, for example.

See this video for more important information about HIV and its treatment:

General care during treatment

Although the treatment of each type of STI varies, there are some general precautions that must be taken. These cares help to have a faster recovery and to reach the cure of the infection, but they are also very important to avoid the transmission of the STI to other people.

Thus, it is advised:

  • Do the treatment until the end, even if there is improvement of symptoms;
  • Avoid sexual contact, even if protected;
  • Perform diagnostic tests for other STIs.

Furthermore, in the case of children or pregnant women, it is important to take other special care, and it is important to consult a pediatrician or an obstetrician, see the infectious disease specialist.

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