Viral sexually transmitted infections are caused by a virus being passed between two people. Viral STIs can be transmitted during sexual activities, as well as through non-sexual contact, such as pregnancy, blood transfusions, towels, straws, or other objects that have been used by someone with a viral STI.
Viral STDs tend to be more serious than bacterial STDs, as there is no cure for viral STDs. Many viral STDs last for life, but can be controlled with antiviral drugs and treatment. There are also vaccines available for two of the most common types of viral STIs, HPV and hepatitis.
The most common viral STIs are:
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is caused by a group of viruses. It is transmitted by the mucous membranes or blood being exposed to an infected person’s blood, saliva, semen, or vaginal secretions.
1 in 20 people in the U.S. will be infected with Hepatitis B at some point in their lives. It is very easily spread, as it is 100 times more infectious than HIV. Only half of all Hepatitis B infections are transmitted sexually.
Those who have Hepatitis B typically have little to no symptoms, but when symptoms do occur they typically mimic the flu. It’s important to note that Hepatitis B can take between 3 week to 2 months to show up in tests.
According to the CDC, over 800,000 people in the U.S. have chronic hepatitis B. Long-lasting Hepatitis B (chronic) can cause liver damage, which can lead to cirrhosis and cancer.
If you have not received the Hepatitis B vaccination, we recommend getting it as soon as possible to protect yourself.
There are multiple strains of herpes. Two of the strains, HSV-1 and HSV-2 cause oral and genital herpes. Herpes is transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Oral herpes is a viral STD that results in cold sores or fever blisters near the mouth. It is transmitted through kissing, sharing drinks, and oral sex (if your partner has genital herpes). Genital herpes is a viral STD that results in sores on the genitals, anus, or upper thighs. It is transmitted through infected bodily fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluid, saliva, or contact with herpes sores.
An estimated 1 in 5 americans have genital herpes, but as many as 80% of those people don’t know they are infected. Herpes can not be cured, but treatment helps the severity of symptoms and shortens outbreaks. It is important to use condoms, but they are not 100% effective in preventing herpes.
HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is the virus that causes AIDS. It is transmitted through blood, sexual fluids, or breast milk. You cannot contract HIV from casual, social contact, such as shaking a hand or hugging a friend.
Nearly 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV. 1 in 5 don’t know they have the virus. Many who have HIV do not experience symptoms and live with the virus untreated for years. It takes 1-6 weeks for symptoms to even show up at all.
There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments that allow those who are HIV-positive to live long and healthy lives. Having HIV doesn’t mean you also have AIDS, though AIDS can develop years later.
Condoms have proven to be highly effective in preventing HIV, but as always the only way to 100% prevent HIV is to abstain from sex.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common of all STDs, and at least half of all sexually active people will get it at some point in their lives. There are 14 million new infections of HPV each year in the U.S. It is transmitted through oral, vaginal, and anal sex, and often goes undiagnosed, because symptoms never show up.
There are more than 100 different types of HPV. Almost every type of cervical cancer and anal cancer is related to HPV. Certain strains can lead to cervical, vaginal, anal, or throat cancer. However, if you get the HPV vaccine and always use a condom, a large number of cancers can be prevented.
While there is no cure for HPV, the body usually rids itself of the virus within a few months.
To learn more about viral STIs, visit the American Sexual Health Association’s website. If you’re concerned that you may have an STI and are in need of discreet STD treatment, contact Besafemeds today to speak with one of our experienced medical professionals.