Ask Kim: Can STI’s Go Away On Their Own?

Dear Kim,

Is it true that some STI’s can go away on their own? I have heard this a few times on the internet, but you know how information from social media can be. That’s why I want to check with you. Can my body fight an STI off on its own?

Thank you,

Just Checking

Dear Checking,

Actually, there are two STI’s that can go away on its own. One is HPV. Almost every sexually active person gets HPV at some point in their lives, often with mild or no symptoms. The immune system will get rid of 90% of these infections within 6 to 24 months. However, certain strains are prone to sticking around and causing problems, which is why we recommend getting the Gardasil vaccine, which is available at our clinic as well as through your doctor. It helps prevent many of the strains that lead to genital warts and cancers.

The other is Hepatitis B. Like HPV, 90% of people are able to kick this one. However, given that 10% of infected folks end up with chronic HBV, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated against this. Twinrix, a vaccine that helps prevent Hep A and B, is available at our clinic and through your doctor.

Other STI’s, like chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea need to be cured with antibiotics. If left alone, they can cause serious problems, like infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even death. Sometimes they don’t show symptoms, which is why it’s important to be tested regularly if you’re having sex.

A few STI’s, most notably HIV, cannot be cured. HIV can be treated effectively with antiretrovirals, and with proper treatment most people with HIV live normal lives. Prevention is really important on this one, though. Consistent condom use is the best way to prevent HIV and other STI’s. Taking PrEP also reduces your chances of being infected with HIV.

The takeaway message here is to protect yourself from STI’s and HIV with condoms and other barriers, and to get tested regularly if you are having sex. 

Be well, be yourself,


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