The History of STD Treatment
Alarmed by the thought of taking an STD test? Just be thankful you aren't going to
experience the mercury treatment! Learn more with this brief history of STD
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For as long as human beings have existed, they've had to deal with Sexually
Transmitted Diseases, or STDs. Nowadays, we are fortunate that many of the most
common STDs are easily treatable, contraception is reliable, and that diagnosis has
become very accurate. But back in the day, when there was no reliable STD test
for most diseases and even less chance of getting an effective preventative or a
cure, catching an STD could be a very serious business indeed...
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Like many diseases, STDs were not well understood in the era before modern
medicine, and were subject to a huge amount of superstition and
misunderstanding. You could forget getting a definitive STD test from a doctor -
with many diseases sharing similar symptoms, accurate diagnosis was almost
impossible before blood tests were perfected. One disease was likely to be
mistaken for another, and if you were carrying an STD but were not displaying
any symptoms, you had absolutely no way of finding out.
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Even worse than the lack of a reliable method of diagnosis were the dubious 'cures'
that were on offer - most of the old remedies were truly eyewatering. Mercury was
the common treatment for syphilis, though whether it did anything other than
make the sufferer chronically ill is open to debate! Silver nitrate and arsenic have
also been used in the past to treat various STDs, and if your infection resulted in
sores, lesions, or blisters, then it got even worse - you were liable to have them cut
or burnt away by the doctor who treated you.
Thankfully, things have come a long way since the old days of STD treatment. The
arrival of antibiotics changed the face of medicine, and offered a simple and
effective treatment for many of the most common STDs, such as syphilis,
gonorrhoea, and chlamydia. Even the diseases that remain incurable, such as
Hepatitis C and genital herpes, can be carefully managed so that those who are
infected with them can continue to live normal lives.
Matching advances in treatment have been improvements in diagnosis. Anyone
can now undergo an accurate STD test to determine whether or not they have been
infected. A simple blood or urine sample can be tested for a wide range of STDs,
and the tests are extremely accurate. Gone are the days when one STD would be
mistaken for another, or when a symptomless STD would go undetected by a
doctor. Nowadays, if you go for a test, you'll get an accurate result.
Of course, modern times have led to vast improvements in treatment, but they
have also brought with them a host of new challenges. The recent appearance of
HIV and AIDS, and the rise of drug resistant strains of STDs are a great danger to
sexual health around the world. In the developing world, where medical standards
are not so high, STDs continue to pose a significant danger to the majority of the
population. But whatever the problems modern healthcare workers face, when it
comes to STDs, we've come a long way since mercury treatment!