Having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is not only an uncomfortable experience, it can also be embarrassing to talk to your doctor about. The CDC reports that cases of STIs are on the rise. Since 2013, there have been 1.7 million cases of chlamydia, up 22% since 2013, and over 500,000 cases of gonorrhea, up 67%. Cases of primary/secondary, and congenital syphilis are also dramatically increasing, at 76% and 154%.
STIs can have significant health consequences for women including Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) chronic pelvic pain, and infertility. Some STIs also lead to cervical cancer.
Unfortunately, many of those who receive treatment for their STIs end up getting re-infected by their partners. To curb these cases, federal health officials recommend “expected partner therapy” or prescribing antibiotics to the partner without meeting them. In California, doctors are allowed to treat partners for chlamydia and gonorrhea. However, many doctors are hesitant. They don’t know the medical history nor drug allergies of the partner. Furthermore, the partner may be suffering from other STIs that may go undiagnosed. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that expected partner therapy should only be used if partners are unwilling or unable to seek medical attention.
The El Camino Women’s Group prefers to see all patients in person before making a diagnosis and/or prescribing medication. If you are suffering from the following circumstances or symptoms, please do not hesitate to make an appointment with us:
- A partner (or former partner) informs you they’ve been diagnosed with an STI
- You’ve had unplanned, unprotected sex with someone you do not know well
- Pain in the eyes, lower abdomen, pelvis, or vagina
- Pain during sexual intercourse or during urination
- Abnormal vaginal discharge or unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Fever or chills with pelvic pain
When STIs are diagnosed, we do generally also write for treatment for your partner. After treatment a return visit at 1-3 months for repeat testing is wise to catch any cases of re-infection.
The best way to prevent acquiring an STI is the use of condoms. Condoms are not 100% and ineffective in the cases of HPV and HSV. The HPV vaccine is available now to women aged 9-45 and can prevent you from getting HPV (which can lead to cervical cancer) However, they do make a big difference overall and should be used unless you are sure the risk of STI transmission is very low.
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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