Common STDs and What to Do About Them

Common STDs and What to Do About Them

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a staggering 1 in 5 people has a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and many of them don’t even know it. You could be one of them. 

Although some sexual activity is riskier than others, all sexuall activity comes with the chance of exposure to infectious bacteria and viruses.The best way to know for sure whether you’re infected or not is to get screened regularly.

If you live in or around the Lakeview or The Loop communities in Chicago, Illinois, you have access to one of the most discreet screening facilities in the Windy City. At Millennium Park Medical Associates, Dr. Farah Khan and our team of medical experts test you for STDs compassionately, respectfully, and professionally. 

And because we have an in-house lab facility, we can process the results quickly. Here’s a look at the most common types of STDs and how we treat them.


Chlamydia is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the genitals. You can get it or pass it to a partner through sexual intercourse or simply through genital-to-genital contact. 

Symptoms include:

Women with chlamydia may also experience bleeding between menstrual periods, inflammation of the cervix, and discolored vaginal discharge. Men may have pain in their testicles. 

If you ignore chlamydia, it can progress and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infection of the prostate gland, and/or infertility. Pregnant mothers with untreated chlamydia can pass it to their babies during delivery, leading to eye infections or pneumonia in the child.

Treatment for chlamydia is typically a course of antibiotics.


Another bacterial infection, gonorrhea lives in moist, warm environments, which is why it thrives around genitals. 

The symptoms are similar to those of chlamydia:

But gonorrhea also comes with:

Symptoms start about 1-3 weeks after you’ve been infected. Like chlamydia, untreated gonorrhea can lead to PID and infertility. The condition is treated with antibiotics.

Genital herpes

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a viral infection that can be passed between partners who have skin-to-skin contact with one another. There are two main types of this infection: HSV-1 and HSV-2.


Oral herpes appears as cold sores of fever blisters. It can be passed by kissing or by sharing lip balm, lipstick, or utensils. 


Genital herpes is contracted through sexual contact; you can even get it from someone who has no symptoms, which (when they are present) include:

There is no cure for herpes, but the symptoms are treatable. Dr. Khan may prescribe various medications to reduce the frequency and intensity of your outbreaks and lower your risk of infecting others.


Caused by a bacterium, syphilis progresses in four distinct stages:

  1. Primary: Within the first month, infectious sores appear on the genitals and last about six weeks
  2. Secondary: Skin rashes appear on your palms and the soles of your feet
  3. Latent: The infection lies dormant for months or years but is still contagious
  4. Tertiary: The infection reactivates (even decades later) and may lead to mental illness, blindness, deafness, meningitis, stroke, and/or brain infections

We can treat syphilis easily with penicillin in its first two stages, but once it progresses to the latent or tertiary stages, antibiotics won’t address the complications.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

The human papillomavirus infects about 42 million Americans, and about 13 million more are infected every year, making it the most common STD. HPV spreads through skin-to-skin contact and/or having sex with an infected person, and the main symptom is genital warts. 

We can treat HPV with medication to get rid of the warts, but having HPV increases your risk for some cancers. There is an HPV vaccine available to prevent an infection.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

The human immunodeficiency virus attacks your immune system. You get HIV by having sex with an infected person, and once you have it, you have it for the rest of your life. 

HIV symptoms show up 2-4 weeks after exposure and typically include:

HIV develops in three stages, starting with an acute infection, followed by a chronic condition, then finally — acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), the most severe and advanced stage.

While there’s no cure for HIV, treatments can reduce the amount of the virus in your body. 

If you have sex, you need to get screened for these and other STDs. Early detection is your best bet for recovery of your health and control over symptoms. To set up an STD screening, call our friendly staff or book your visit online today.

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