2013’s STD Awareness Month

STD preventionThis month, we’ll be sharing content on our blog and on social media about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in order to recognize STD Awareness Month.

As the CDC explains, “most STDs are treatable, and many are curable – early detection through testing is key. Yet, stigma, inconsistent or incorrect condom use, access to health care, and a combination of other factors contribute to high rates of STDs among teens and young adults.”

In this blog post, we’ll describe three STDs, two of which directly require specialty medication therapy and one of which can lead to a condition that requires specialty drugs. All of the diseases mentioned below can be diagnosed by your doctor. Practicing safe and healthy habits can significantly reduce your risk of developing these diseases.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a transmittable virus that can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); it can be spread by sexual activity. Because there are many myths about how HIV can be spread, you may want to refer to the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about HIV transmission.

Some people with HIV will not display any symptoms. Indeed, the CDC states that “people living with HIV may appear and feel healthy for several years. However, even if they feel healthy, HIV is still affecting their bodies.”

Specialty medications can be used to manage an HIV infection by reducing the damage to the individual’s immune system or slowing down the rate of damage. If the immune system has been significantly damaged, the individual can progress to AIDS. Currently, there are no cures for HIV or AIDS.


The CDC explains that “Hepatitis” refers to “a family of viral infections that affect the liver; the most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.” They differ based on how the infection is transmitted and how they affect the liver. If managed inappropriately, certain types of hepatitis infections can lead to liver cancer.

Hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted through sexual activity, though it also can be transmitted through exposure to infected blood. A vaccine for Hepatitis B is available.

The CDC goes on to also explain that Hepatitis C is most frequently transmitted via exposure to infected blood, but the infection can less commonly be transmitted via sexual activity. Also, “the risk increases for those who have multiple sex partners, have a sexually transmitted disease, engage in rough sex, or are infected with HIV.” Currently, a vaccine for Hepatitis C is unavailable.

Though some people may not show any symptoms of Hepatitis B or C, symptoms can include:

  • “Fever
  • “Fatigue
  • “Loss of appetite
  • “Nausea
  • “Vomiting
  • “Abdominal pain
  • “Dark urine
  • “Clay-colored bowel movements
  • “Joint pain
  • “Jaundice” (yellowing of the skin)

Hepatitis B and C can be acute or chronic in nature. When chronic hepatitis is diagnosed, specialty medications may be prescribed in order to manage the disease.

Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common of the sexually transmitted infections and is transmitted through genital contact. The CDC goes on to explain further that HPV affects both males and females and is not the same as herpes or HIV.

Sometimes, HPV does not cause any symptoms in the diagnosed individual. When symptoms do occur, patients may develop:

  • Genital warts
  • Warts located in the throat
  • Cancers of the cervix and, more rarely, other locations (e.g, “vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and oropharynx (back of throat including base of tongue and tonsils)”)

There are currently no treatments for HPV, but the CDC states that many HPV-related cancers are considered “most treatable when [they are] diagnosed and treated early.” HPV can be prevented by HPV vaccinations, which are recommended for both girls and boys.

You can learn more about our patient services for cancer, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS at our website. Also, if you or someone you know would like more information about us, please feel free to contact us directly by calling 877.977.9118 or by emailing us at dspinfo@diplomatpharmacy.com.

The information contained herein may not be construed as medical advice. It is for informational purposes only. Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. takes no responsibility for the accuracy or validity of the information contained herein, nor the claims or statements of any other party. Please consult with your physician regarding any health care questions you may have.