STIs are very common, and have a lot more stigma than they should. The connection to sex is what has made these infections so difficult to talk about. That’s why we’re here, to talk about them and let you know you are not alone. Whether you are experiencing recurring STI symptoms, or aren’t sure whether you have one at all, Wisp can give you the answers you need and the care you deserve.
It’s important to note that STDs are now more commonly referred to as STIs. STI, or sexually transmitted infection, is more scientifically accurate and comes with a lot less historical stigma than STD.
What Is the #1 Most Common STD?
The most common STD in the US is the Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV). You may also have heard this infection described as genital warts. The vast majority of people who have the infection are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t show any symptoms and probably aren’t aware they have it.
HPV is an STI that can be transmitted by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone that has the virus. It can be passed on to a sexual partner even when they are not showing any signs or symptoms, so that makes it quite hard to detect or know when you contracted the infection in the first place. We know this sounds daunting, but it’s good to be informed and there are ways to deal with it. Nine out of ten cases of HPV are healed on their own, without the need for medical intervention.
If you do experience symptoms of HPV, they typically look like itching or warts on the genital area. However, most people don’t experience symptoms at all. Women who go to a screening for cervical cancer or a pap smear can sometimes discover that they have HPV, but there is no way to test men for HPV in the absence of symptoms.
While most cases of HPV will go away on their own, some cases of HPV can lead to cervical cancer, which is why it’s important to keep up with regular pap smears and cervical cancer screenings. Thanks to the development of the HPV vaccine, most girls can reduce their risk of cervical cancer. To reduce your HPV risk you can:
- Get vaccinated
- Screened for cervical cancer
- Routine pap smear
- Use condoms during sex
Note: HPV is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact so condoms do not offer complete protection against transmission, but they do reduce your risk significantly!
While there aren’t any treatments for the virus itself, there are treatments for the symptoms that occur because of HPV. Genital warts can be removed in the same ways as other types of warts:
- Put chemicals on the warts to make them go away or stop growing. Usually, you get this done once a week for a few weeks at a clinic.
- Give you a prescription for a cream that you put on the warts yourself for several weeks.
- Freeze the warts off (cryotherapy).
- Burn off the warts using an electric current.
- Remove the warts with a knife or wire and electricity (LEEP).
If you’re unsure whether the symptoms you are experiencing are HPV or another kind of STI, complete an STD consult to get testing and the appropriate treatment.
What Are the 5 Most Common STDs?
You may be wondering, what are the most common STDs? Well, we're here to tell you all about them. Most STDs are easily transmitted and also easily treated, but first, let’s learn about them. The top 5 most common and curable STDs are:
Syphilis is an STI caused by a bacteria called Treponema pallidum. When this bacteria gets into broken or torn skin, mainly of the genitals, it can cause an infection. It is transmitted primarily through sexual contact. Symptoms include:
- Sores in the groin area (chancres) can also infect the tongue and lips.
- Reddish-brown rashes
It can be treated with antibiotics, and the length of the treatment varies depending on the severity of the STI and the patient’s overall health. Once you complete a cycle of antibiotics, your symptoms should go away. If you aren’t sure what treatment is best for you, you can do an online consultation or contact your physician.
Chlamydia is another STI that is quite common and very treatable. This STI can be contracted by having oral, vaginal, or sex with someone who has chlamydia, and you can get it even if your partner does not ejaculate. Symptoms may vary depending on the person’s sex—for women you can experience:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- A burning sensation when peeing
- Bleeding between periods
- Bad smelling discharge
While for men symptoms can be:
- Discharge from penis
- Burning when urinating
- Pain or swelling in one or both testicles
Chlamydia is very treatable and can go away with antibiotics, especially if you get ahead of it and don’t let it go untreated too long. During antibiotic treatment, it is recommended that you avoid sexual activity, to prevent spreading it to your partner. If it goes untreated for a long amount of time, you can get Pelvic Inflammatory Disease which can lead to long-term health problems like infertility or complications for pregnant women. With Wisp you can order same-day prescriptions for STI treatments, so you don’t have to worry anymore.
Gonorrhea is one of the most common in the US. It is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae that infects the mucous membrane of the cervix, fallopian tubes, uterus, and urethra (in both men and women). Symptoms include:
- Burning when peeing
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Discharge from the penis
If you are experiencing these symptoms you should refrain from having sex and get medication as soon as you can. Say you're worried about going to the doctor and want rapid access to good treatment, you can use Wisp for treatment that can be delivered right to you. Like other STIs it’s important to treat Gonorrhea quickly, to avoid any long-term health issues.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US. There are more than 100 types of HPV, some of which cause genital warts while others can lead to cervical cancer. Most people with HPV don't show any symptoms and may never know they have it. It's important to get tested for HPV if you're sexually active because if left undiagnosed and untreated, it can cause serious health problems down the line.
Most HPV infections can be treated with antiviral medications or topical creams. In some cases, particularly if the infection is severe, a doctor may recommend surgery to remove warts or abnormal cells. If you're diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer, you'll likely need further treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy.
It's important to practice safe sex by using condoms and limiting your number of sexual partners to lower your risk of contracting HPV. Vaccines are also available for those between the ages of 9 and 45 that can help protect against certain types of HPV. Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated if you're in this age group.
Hepatitis is a viral infection that affects the liver. It can be caused by different types of viruses, including Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Each type of Hepatitis has different symptoms and treatment options. Hepatitis A is the most common type of Hepatitis and it is usually spread through contaminated food or water. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and jaundice. It is usually self-limiting in most cases, meaning it will go away without treatment. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to help the body fight off the virus. Vaccines are also available to help prevent Hepatitis A infection.
Hepatitis B is spread through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids. It can cause severe liver damage if left untreated. Treatment usually consists of antiviral medications, which can help reduce symptoms and the risk of further liver damage. Vaccines are also available for those who have not previously been infected with Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C is the most serious type, and it is spread through contact with infected blood. It can lead to chronic liver disease if left untreated. Treatment usually consists of antiviral medications which can help reduce symptoms and the risk of further liver damage. Vaccines are not available for Hepatitis C, so it is important to practice safe sex and use protection techniques such as condoms to lower your risk of infection. No matter what type of hepatitis you may have, it is important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms, get tested for the virus, and seek treatment as soon as possible.
What about herpes?
Herpes is one of the most common STIs in the world. There are two strains of herpes: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Traditionally, HSV-1 has been considered an oral infection (causing “cold sores” or “fever blisters”) and HSV-2 a genital infection, there has been an increasing proportion of genital infections caused by HSV-1 as fewer people have been exposed to HSV-1 as children (via kisses from parents and loved ones). Oral infection from HSV-2 is rare, but possible as well. Herpes is spread through:
- A herpes sore
- Saliva from a partner with an oral herpes infection
- Genital fluids from a partner with a genital herpes infection
- Skin in the oral area of a partner with oral herpes
- Skin in the genital area of a partner with genital herpes
If you are experiencing painful blister-like sores on your mouth or genital area, flu-like symptoms, body pains, and aches, this could mean you are having a herpes outbreak. And if you aren’t sure, you can take our Symptoms Quiz to better understand what is going on, and get the right treatment for you.
What is the treatment for the most common STDs?
Despite what a lot of people still think, STDs are manageable and treatable, especially if you have Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, or Herpes. So you’ve got an STD or a flareup and are not sure what to do, fear not Wisp is here! Depending on the STI, there are a variety of treatments and medications that can help reduce symptoms and make you feel better. Most STI cases can be cured with antibiotics. You must complete the prescription cycle to reduce the flare-up or eliminate the symptoms.
Whether you are experiencing cold sores or genital herpes, there are lots of treatments for them. While HSV isn’t curable, prescription antivirals can help you manage and reduce your symptoms. Holistic preventatives and herbal treatments can help prevent or decrease flare-ups and make the symptoms a lot milder.
You can also help reduce your risk with DoxyPEP, the morning-after pill for STIs. DoxyPEP is a prescription antibiotic regimen that can be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex and possible exposure to an STI to reduce your risk of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. So there’s no need to fear if you had a fun and unexpected night, DoxyPEP is the way to go.
What are the easiest STDs to cure?
One of the most common STIs is trichomoniasis, but luckily, it’s also one of the easiest STDs to cure. Symptoms of trich include:
- Itching, burning, redness, or soreness of the genitals
- Discomfort when peeing
- A clear, white, yellowish, or greenish vaginal discharge (i.e., thin discharge or increased volume) with a fishy smell
If you have trich it is quite easy to treat it, using medication taken orally that is safe for pregnant people. It is especially important to treat it if you are pregnant, as it can cause birth complications. The most effective way to prevent trich is to use condoms during sex.
Wisp can be a great resource for STI education, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention—if you’re concerned about your sexual health, we’ve got your back. Log on for STI care to connect with a doctor and get the right treatment for you!