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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Prognosis

Most STDs respond well to treatment. However, many patients develop repeat episodes of STDs because their sex partners are not treated or because they continue to be exposed to STDs through unprotected sex. To help avoid getting the same disease again, sex partners usually need treatment as well.

Genital herpes cannot be cured, because the virus remains dormant in nerves for the rest of a patient's life. However, many people do not notice any problems after the initial infection, and many people don't even notice when they are first infected. In people who do notice herpes flare-ups, about 40 percent of them experience more than 6 flare-ups over a lifetime; whereas less than 10 percent have more than 6 flare-ups a year. In patients with herpes simplex virus type II, antiviral therapy can successfully suppress repeated episodes of genital ulcers.

HIV cannot be cured. But with regular medical attention, monitoring and treatment, most people with HIV live for many years with minimal or no symptoms.

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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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