Diagnosis of a sexually-transmitted disease, or STD, begins with a review of your symptoms and a physical exam to look for signs of infection. You'll also be asked about past sexual activity, including unsafe sex or risky sexual activity that could have resulted in exposure to an STD. Blood tests and urinalysis may also be performed to confirm a diagnosis.
Some STDs can be treated and cured with antibiotics or other methods, but there are some that cannot be cured, including HIV, herpes and some types of HPV. Instead, they must be managed with regular care that can include medications and other treatments, as well as regular office visits to keep your treatment on track. Following your treatment guidelines and practicing safe sex can help prevent the spread of the STD to a partner.
Genital warts are caused by a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is spread through sexual activity. Genital warts are very common. Outbreaks can be treated with medications and with in-office techniques to remove the warts. Warts that don't cause symptoms may not require treatment.
Most STDs take a few weeks to develop to a point where they can be measured with blood tests. If you've had unprotected sex, make an appointment to learn about the symptoms you should be watching out for and to learn how to avoid potentially infecting someone else while you're waiting to be tested.
Ideally, if you're sexually active, you should be tested once a year. If you engage in unprotected sex or other risky behavior, such as having multiple partners, you might need to be tested more often.
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