While bacterial STDs are caused by bacteria and parasites, viral STDs are caused by viruses. Although the majority of bacterial STDs can be treated, most viral STDs can be controlled rather than completely cured - these viral infections include:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis
  • Herpes
  • HPV

See also: The Difference Between Viral STIs and Bacterial STIs


Can Viral STDs be cured?


Bacterial STDs such as syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia can be cured with the right treatment, however, viral STDs can only be controlled and treated using antiviral medications.

Let’s take a look at the four viral infections which can’t be cured completely.


HIV


HIV is commonly diagnosed using a blood or saliva test. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, it’s important to speak with your doctor as soon as possible - the only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested.

People who detect HIV early and take their medicine as prescribed can live a healthy life and prevent transmitting it to their partner - this is why it’s so important to detect it early and begin treatment as soon as possible [1].

See also: HIV and Pneumonia: What’s the Connection?


Hepatitis


While hepatitis A is almost always a short-term disease, hepatitis B and C are viral infections and can lead to long-term issues in the liver if left untreated - both are commonly diagnosed with a blood test.

Treatment for Hepatitis B and C depends on a number of factors - including the severity of the virus and whether you’ve suffered from liver damage before. That said, if the virus is detected early and you follow your doctor's advice, it’s possible to live a long and healthy life [2].


Herpes


Herpes falls under two categories - HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both can be tested for using a urine sample or a simple blood test.

Though there is no known cure for herpes, antiviral medications are known to work by reducing the frequency and the severity of outbreaks. If you take your medication as prescribed, your symptoms should be relieved and your flare-ups should become less common[3].

See also: Can Herpes go Away on its Own?


HPV


HPV is commonly transmitted through sexual contact and can be the cause of cervical cancer in women - it can be tested for with a cervical swab sample.

When it comes to HPV, prevention is the best cure - the HPV vaccination is known to drastically decrease your chances of contracting the infection and it can also lower your risk of cervical cancer [4].

There’s no cure for HPV but the body’s immune system can get rid of the infection naturally within a couple of years. If you experience genital warts as a result of the infection, there are medications that can be applied directly to ease the irritation [5].

See also: Why is it Important to Check for HPV?


Can I test for a viral STI from home?


The best way to test for an STI is to take a test - you can do this with your local doctor or from the comfort of your own home. If you think you may have been exposed to a viral STI - it’s important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.


LetsGetChecked’s at home STI tests cover the same infections as provided by physicians, hospitals and government schemes.

You should consider getting tested if:

  • You’ve become sexually active
  • You’ve had unprotected sex
  • You’re experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection
  • You’re entering into a new sexual relationship
  • You’ve received a notification from a previous partner that they’re infected (STDs can remain dormant for years and/ or take up to three weeks to become detectable.)

See also: How do you Check for STDs From Home?



References

  1. HIV.gov. How can you tell if you have HIV? Online: HIV.gov, 2019
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is viral hepatitis? Online: Cdc.gov, 2020
  3. NHS. Genital Herpes. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  4. HSE. About the HPV vaccine. Online: HSE.ie
  5. Mayo Clinic. HPV infection. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019