Do All STDs Last a Lifetime?


Finding out that you have contracted an STD can be shocking. Many people think that having an STD means that your life is changed forever. While it is true that some STDs will be with you the rest of your life, others are easily curable. There are three causes for an STD: viruses, bacteria and parasites. While there are cures for bacterial and parasitic infections, certain viruses will infect you for life as there is no cure.

Bacterial STDs

There are several STDs caused by bacterial infections. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. These types of STDs can usually be cured with antibiotics. This treatment could be administered orally or by injection depending on the STD and what your doctor thinks is best for you. Recently, there has been increasing reports of antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea and other bacteria which have made treating these STDs more difficult.


The last kind of curable STD is one caused by a parasite. Trichomoniasis is caused by an infection with a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list trichomoniasis as the most common curable STD in the United States. An estimated 3.7 million people are thought to be infected with this STD, but only about 30% ever develop symptoms. This infection is more common in women than in men and is usually treated with antibiotics.

If bacterial infections and parasites can be cured, what kind of STDs last for your whole life?

Viral STDs

The kind of STD that stays with you for the rest of your life is caused by a virus. These infections include HIV, human papillomavirus (or HPV), herpes and hepatitis. Since these STDs are viruses they stay in the body for life and can cause symptoms to appear periodically over time. The good news is that treatment exists for all of these infections. That means that even if a person is diagnosed with these illnesses, they can still lead a long and healthy life. If left untreated, these STDs can lead to more serious health issues.
The CDC recommends engaging in the practices of safe sexual intercourse in order to prevent the spread of STDs. This includes the use of latex condoms. If you believe that you have been exposed to an STD, you should have STD testing performed. This is the best way to know that current status of your sexual health.

Article by Robert Francis Curtis

Robert studied at Columbia College Chicago. He has worked as a Care Adviser here at Analyte Health for a while and looks forward to spreading more information about sexual health.