Health A-Z

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The treatment of STDs depends on the infection. In the case of gonorrhea and chlamydia, your doctor will usually give an antibiotic injection to treat gonorrhea and oral antibiotics to treat chlamydia.

Genital herpes is a lifelong infection with no cure. However, the blistering skin sores won't last as long if you treat genital herpes with an oral antiviral medication as soon as symptoms of an attack occur. If you have frequent attacks, you should ask your doctor for a prescription for an antiviral medication, such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) or valacyclovir (Valtrex) so that you will have it when you need it. Taking antiviral medicine every day may reduce the frequency of attacks by 80 percent in people who have frequent episodes of severe genital herpes.

Syphilis usually is treated with one or more injections of penicillin. Genital warts can be treated by freezing or by applying topical agents. Also your doctor may prescribe an immune boosting cream to help fight the virus.

HIV cannot be cured, but it can be treated with a drug combination called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). HAART medications must be taken every day for the rest of your life. However, this drug combination has turned HIV from a fatal illness into a treatable, chronic disease.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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