How Many Times Can You Get an STD?
If you thought that you are STD-free once you treated the infection, you are seriously mistaken.
STDs are not like the chicken pox – you cannot simply get rid of them once and expect to never get them back. However, they are not like the common cold either – it does not necessarily mean that you will get the same infection over and over again.
To some extent, the recurrence of the infection depends on you and the type of STD. Some types are contracted like the common cold, over and over again. Others remain in your body for life, while the last group makes you immune to the STD after being vaccinated.
STDs You Can Get More than Once
…Or twice or trice for that matter
Most parasitic and bacterial sexually transmitted diseases are easy to treat and catch again in case of recurrence. If you have a treatable disease, doctors will immediately recommend that you refrain from sex until the treatment is completed. Furthermore, they will request that you and your partner both complete treatment before having sexual relations again.
If you fail to abide to this request and do not wait until the disease is cleared from both of your bodies, you are simply risking the passing of the disease back and forth. Even if you practice safe sex, this can still happen.
So, which are the STDs you can get over and over again?
Parasitic and Bacterial Diseases that may Occur More than Once
- Mycoplasma Genitalium
- Crabs or Pubic Lice
Viral STDs that may Occur More than Once
The majority of viral sexually transmitted diseases remain in the body forever. However, the body can get rid of some infections on its own, such as hepatitis and HPV. In the case you gotten rid of a viral infection, reinfection is still possible, even though the chances are much smaller.
In addition to this, you may be reinfected with different strains of the same virus. Knowing that there are over 100 types of HPV strains and over 30 of these are transmitted sexually, the risk is still big. Therefore, if you had an infection that eliminated itself and the susceptibility to the specific strain, this does not mean that you are no longer at risk of reinfection.
STDs that Do Not Go Away
Viral STDs come attached with treatable symptoms, but in most cases, the diseases are impossible or extremely difficult to cure. Once you are infected with oral herpes, HIV or genital herpes, these infections stay with you for life. You will never really get rid of these viruses, even if you think they are gone. They will remain dormant in your system for years, even decades.
You should also know that viral infections might be a cause of chronic, long-term infections. Therefore, even if you do not kick hepatitis or HPV from your system, your immune system may lead to chronic infections and a variety of health complications.
STDs You Become Immune To
As we said, the smallest group consists of STDs you can actually become immune to. In most cases, this is achieved through vaccination.
Still, if you were an STD patient once again, take care of your health and assume that you can get it again.
STDs do come back to haunt us.
Common Ways that People Get Reinfected with STDs
You can get reinfected with STDs if:
- You fail to finish treatment
Patients who do not take all the antibiotics or stop treatment before the recommended time are at high risk of being reinfected. In such cases, the patient may not even be free from the infection in the first place.
In addition to this, failing to finish with a given medication can cause antibiotic resistance, which makes it much harder to treat the disease. For example, antibiotic resistant gonorrhea can easily switch an uncomplicated, simple-to-treat infection into an STD that is impossible to cure.
- Your partner does not get treated or tested
When a person is diagnosed with an STD, they simply must inform the sexual partner/s. If one member of the sexual partnership fails to get tested and treated, both partners will keep getting reinfected during sexual intercourse.
This is exactly why STDs are transmitted so often, especially between people with more than one sexual partner. STDs are a private matter, which is why people feel ashamed to share their diagnosis with the partner, which results in spreading of the disease and reinfection of the originally infected and treated patient.
- You keep having unsafe sex during treatment
Doctors recommend refraining from sex during STD treatment. Why? Because you can transmit the current infection to your sexual partner, and get reinfected even after you treated the infection in your system.
This is why it is highly important to practice safe sex or have no sex whatsoever when treating an STD. It is preferred to avoid sexual relations altogether during STD treatment.
- You do not get tested regularly
How often you should get tested depends on the personal risk factors and the STD you were diagnosed with. If you were treated for an STD, you are probably still at risk of being reinfected, which is why every sexually active person should get tested at least once a year.
If you think that your partner may have an STD or know they are under treatment for an infection, get tested immediately. Even if you practice safe sex with an STD patient, you are still at risk of developing the same infection.
Doctors do not always test patients for STDs during regular checkups. If you want to be tested, ask your doctor to make this possible. In addition, make sure that you are completely honest with the doctor about your STD history, sexual practices, number of sexual partners, frequency of using condoms, kind of sex you have had, etc. This will help them figure out which tests you need and check if you have been reinfected with the same or different strain of the infection.