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Sexually Transmitted Infections are Alive and Well

Perhaps you’re among those who think that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a thing of the past, or only something college people need to worry about. Sadly, STI rates are on the rise, and while there are more cases among people aged 15-24, the rate of increase is much larger in people over 40. Between 2014 and 2018, the rates of some of the most common STIs sharply increased among people over age 40; cases of gonorrhea rose 164 percent, cases of chlamydia jumped 86 percent, and herpes cases also rose drastically.

Perhaps you’re among those who think that sexually transmiWhile STIs are oftentimes portrayed as only an issue that affects younger generations, it’s simply not true, And because of this, those over 40 may lack the awareness or education about STIs until it becomes more problematic.

With that in mind, we’re sharing some information on three of the most common STIs: gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes.


Gonorrhea is an infection that is oftentimes has no symptoms or produces mild symptoms in people. When symptoms do develop, they most commonly include a burning sensation or pain when peeing, an increase in vaginal discharge or vaginal bleeding between periods. A rectal infection may include discharge, soreness, bleeding and painful bowel movements.

If you notice symptoms or suspect you may be dealing with gonorrhea, reach out to our team. The infection can usually be quickly diagnosed with the help of a urine sample or swab of the cervix. Gonorrhea can be successfully treated with medication, but it will not undo any permanent damage the infection caused, which again speaks to the importance of seeking treatment if you suspect you have an STI. Long-term problems associated with untreated gonorrhea include pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancies, the formation of scar tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes, pelvic pain and the possibility of infertility.


Chlamydia is a common STI contracted by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia. Similar to gonorrhea, chlamydia oftentimes presents with no symptoms or very mild symptoms. Symptoms of chlamydia include a burning sensation while peeing or an abnormal amount of vaginal discharge. Chlamydia does not need to be symptomatic to cause permanent damage, so it’s important to get tested if there’s a possibility you have an infection.

Fortunately, chlamydia can be treated with the help of medications. You’ll want to take your medication as directed by your provider until you’ve exhausted your supply. You should not have sex again until both you and your partner(s) have either tested negative or completed treatment. Chlamydia can return if you again have sexual relations with someone carrying the infection, so be mindful of safe sex practices even if you’ve had chlamydia and been successfully treated with medication.


Herpes is an STI that is caused by the presence of two different viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). It can lead to the presence of oral or genital herpes.

Oral herpes can lead to cold sores or blisters around the mouth, and is caused by non-sexual contact with saliva. You can contract genital herpes by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has herpes and you come in contact with the sore, saliva from the partner, or sexual fluids. Your partner does not need to have a visible sore in order to transmit the virus to you. That said, you will not get herpes from things like bedding, swimming pools or toilet seats, or touching the same spoon or towel as someone with herpes.

Herpes can be asymptomatic or cause mild symptoms, and sometimes a herpes sore can be mistaken for a pimple or less serious skin irritation. Many people don’t realize they are dealing with herpes until they have an outbreak, which involves the presence of multiple sores around the mouth, genitals or rectum. These sores can take about a week or more to heal, and you may also deal with flu-like symptoms during the outbreak. Other symptoms include smelly genital discharge, a burning sensation when peeing and bleeding between periods. The condition can typically be diagnosed by a provider who can look at the sores, but sample collection or blood tests may also be used to diagnose herpes.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for genital herpes, but medications can help to prevent and shorten outbreaks. Daily medications can also make it less likely that you pass the infection on to a sexual partner. Left untreated, outbreaks and other symptoms can worsen, so talk to your healthcare provider about the best ways to manage your genital herpes condition.

For more information about any of these infections, or to talk with our team about symptoms you’re experiencing, make an appointment at 763-587-7000 or book online.