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What Can Happen If You Have an STD For Too Long?

STD is a sexually transmitted disease that is also known by the names of STI (sexually transmitted infections) and VD (venereal diseases).

As the name suggests, this infection spreads by sexual contact with an infected individual. This could be because of having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex. In most cases, the health complications are more severe for women than men, the most serious being inability to conceive and difficulty during a pregnancy. Apart from sex, if you work in a lab and you were exposed to an infected individual’s biological fluid such as semen or blood, then you too are at a risk of getting the infection. New born usually get this infection passed on after birth from their infected mothers, which in a number of cases have been detrimental to their survival.

What are the Different Types of STDs?

STDs are mainly classified by the pathogen that causes the infection. The main ones are bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal infections. Of these, viral infections has the worst prognosis and parasitic has the most promising prognosis. Collectively these pathogens are responsible for causing more than 20 different types of STDs. Some of the STD s are as a result of the direct infection with the pathogen while other STDs are a complication as a result of an untreated original infection.

Bacterial STDs include bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, chancroid, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), mucopurulent cervicitis (MPC), lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), epididymitis, procitis and urethritis.

Viral infections include genital warts or human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis A (HAC), hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HAC), herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDs), molluscum contagiosum (MCV), and procitis.

Parasitic infections include public lice (crabs), trichomoniasis (trich) and scabies.

Fungal infection includes candidiasis (yeast infections).

What Can Happen If You Have an STD For Too Long?

In case of bacterial infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia and bacterial vaginosis, if the original infection is not treated promptly, it goes on to develop secondary infections like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This in turn leads to further complications in young men and women including urethritis, infertility, increased risk of developing HIV, difficulty conceiving (due to scarring of the fallopian tubes) and difficult pregnancy (including ectopic pregnancy, risk of miscarriage).

Fungal infections generally do not have any long term complications other than their frequency of recurrence. In some cases, though if a fungal infection such as candidiasis is left untreated, the pathogen can enter the bloodstream to cause invasive candidiasis, which could cause damage to your lungs, liver, heart and other internal organs. Similar to fungal infections, parasitic infections do not have major complications if left untreated. In cases such as public lice and scabies, the risk of the infection spreading to other parts of the body increases and the skin infection becomes more severe. In case of an untreated Trichomonas infection, the risk of getting HIV, cancer, PID, difficulty to conceive and deliver etc increases and so this infection could have serious complications.

In case of viral infections (such as hepatitis, herpes and HPV), the complications are much more severe and life threatening with the most serious being developing HIV. HIV infections lead to increased risk of stroke, liver or kidney failure, pneumonia, cancer and AIDs. Apart from this, untreated herpes infection increases the risk of developing meningitis and encephalitis that could be fatal. Hepatitis infections have been associated with liver complications including severe liver infection, cirrhosis and fibrosis of the liver and liver cancer.

Most STD infections do not have any physical symptoms that makes them difficult to diagnose. You are recommended to be tested annually if you are sexually active and if your sexual partner is diagnosed with an infection. With an early diagnosis, most infections have a positive prognosis, provided the patient takes the medication as recommended and does not stop therapy once the symptoms disappear.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – STDs: https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm
  2. Mayo Clinic – Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/symptoms-causes/syc-20351240

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 26, 2023

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