10 Reasons Not to Go to the ER

You’re better off going to your general practitioner for STD testing and treatment. © dina2001/iStockphoto

Today 50.5 million men and 59.5 million women in the U.S. are infected with an STD, and there will be an estimated 20 million new infections this year [source: Gholipour]. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B virus (HBV), genital herpes (HSV), genital warts (HPV), HIV, syphilis and trichomoniasis are the most common sexually transmitted infections among American men and women, with chlamydia and HPV accounting for the most infections [source: Gholipour]. Many STDs are considered "silent" because they don't have any noticeable symptoms, or they have minor symptoms such as genital itching. In parallel, more than two-thirds of doctors don't routinely screen their patients for these infections [source: Analyte Physicians Group].

Sexually transmitted diseases caused by bacterial infections, such as chlamydia, can be treated and cured with antibiotics. However, there is no cure for any STD caused by a viral infection, such as HIV, HPV and HSV, although symptoms can be treated and often suppressed. And while some STDs are lifelong infections, they aren't life-threatening emergencies. If you need treatment for an STD, you're better off seeing your general practitioner than going to emergency care.