Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are often asymptomatic, but if left untreated, they can have serious consequences. These can include blindness and other neurological manifestations, infertility, mother-to-child transmission, or birth defects. Even if you use condoms and practice safer sex, the risk of transmission remains significant, especially with STIs such as human papillomavirus (HPV). Untreated STDs can grow uncontrollably for years in the body and cause the development of potentially serious or fatal diseases.
For example, a person with HPV may have cervical or anal cancer, while syphilis can cause blindness, dementia, and damage to the heart or kidneys. Routine exams are essential to detect STDs that may not show any signs or symptoms. Untreated STDs can cause many health complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer, and future infertility. Sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can put both the mother and her baby at risk during pregnancy.
These can cause preterm births, fetal deaths and spontaneous abortions, in addition to posing the risk of the disease being transmitted from mother to baby through normal delivery. In the worst case scenario, these STDs can also be very deadly for the baby. An untreated STD can cause unwanted medical problems in the future, which can even cause life-threatening illnesses. When diagnosed, STDs are usually treatable or manageable, but not all STDs initially cause symptoms.
STDs are infections that are transmitted between partners through genital sexual activity, such as vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or oral sex. The most common STDs diagnosed are chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV). In addition, you can transmit some STDs to your baby in the womb or during delivery, which can cause serious or fatal complications. Without treatment, STDs can cause serious complications for you and any current or future sexual partner.
Because some STDs are asymptomatic at first, the only way to know for sure if you have an STD is to get tested if you're sexually active. Herpes is one of the most common STDs and it is incurable; condoms cannot always protect you against it. It is also able to remain dormant and undetected for years. Having open sores in the genital area due to an STD could increase your risk of contracting HIV.
It is clear why herpes is considered the king of STDs.