While bacterial STIs are caused by bacteria and parasites, viral STIs are caused by viruses. Although the majority of bacterial STIs can be treated, most viral STIs can be controlled rather than completely cured.

So, are viral STIs curable? Let’s delve a little further into the topic of viral STIs, focusing on if viral STIs are curable and how you can test for a viral STI from home.



Are Viral STIs Curable?


Though not as easily curable as bacterial STIs, once they’re detected early, viral STIs can be controlled and treated using antiviral medications.

We’re going to take a look at the most common viral STIs and whether they can be cured.

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].

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].

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].


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.)


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