Mobile phone screen showing negative test results after antibiotics were used to treat an STD

What Antibiotics Treat STDs?

Written on June 28, 2023 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH, Sexuality Educator & Certified Sexologist. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Before we can discuss which antibiotics treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), we need to make sure we’re all on the same page regarding the definition of an STD, as well as a basic understanding of the types of STDs.

What Is An STD?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are millions of new infections every year in the United States; sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are very common [1].

Per our related article — STI vs. STD: what’s the difference? — “The key difference between STIs and STDs can be identified by the implications of one small linguistic distinction: the use of ‘infection’ in place of ‘disease’ (and vice versa). Infections and diseases are not the same things—infections are curable and go away, while diseases are usually chronic (ongoing or life-long).”

Types of STDs and STIs

Examples of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) include the following conditions:

  • Herpes
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

These conditions are viral and chronic, meaning that once you contract them, they stay in your system. But while they are incurable, they are treatable. You can still have a healthy and active sex life if you have a viral STD.

Examples of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) include the following conditions:

  • Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis (“trich”)
  • Pubic lice (“crabs”)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)*

These conditions are curable. All of them, except for public lice, are treated and cured with antibiotics. So, technically, antibiotics are not used to treat or cure sexually transmitted diseases, but rather, they are used to treat sexually transmitted infections.

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What Antibiotics Treat STIs

There are many types of antibiotics, none of which can be used as a universal treatment for all STIs. Below you will find a list of antibiotics that are used to treat each of the corresponding sexually transmitted infections.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial vaginosis is treated with metronidazole (Flagyl®, Metrogel-Vaginal®, etc.), clindamycin (Cleocin®, Clindesse®, etc.), tinidazole (Tindamax®), or secnidazole (Solosec®). All of these antibiotics are offered as a pill or powder that is taken orally, though clindamycin and metronidazole are also offered as vaginal creams or suppositories. [2]


Chlamydia is most often treated with doxycycline (Vibramycin-D®, Efracea®, Periostat®), azithromycin (Zithromax®), amoxicillin (Amoxicot®, Amoxil®, DisperMox®, Moxatag®, Moxilin®, Trimox®), or erythromycin (Erythrocin®, Erythroped®, Erymax®, Erythroped A®, Tiloryth®). [3,4,5,6]


It is currently recommended that gonorrhea be treated with ceftriaxone (Ceftrisol Plus®, Rocephin®) which is an injection.[7]


When caught early enough, the recommended treatment for syphilis is injectable penicillin or an alternative if you are allergic.[8]

Trichomoniasis (“trich”)

Trichomoniasis is best treated with metronidazole (Flagyl®, MetroCream®, etc.) or tinidazole (Tindamax®).[9]

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID can be treated through a couple of combinations of medications. Option one is ceftriaxone, doxycycline, and metronidazole. Option two is cefotetan with doxycycline. Option three is cefoxitin with doxycycline.

STD Treatment via Everlywell

With Everlywell's telehealth option for online STD treatment, it's easy to schedule nn-demand STD appointments when and where you need them. Schedule your telehealth consult today if you think you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection.

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  1. CDC - STD Diseases & Related Conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published December 8, 2021. Accessed November 14, 2022.
  2. Bacterial vaginosis. Mayo Clinic. June 10, 2023. Accessed June 20, 2023. URL.
  3. Doxycycline. National Health Service. Accessed June 20, 2023. URL.
  4. Amoxicillin (oral route) description and brand names. Mayo Clinic. May 1, 2023. Accessed June 20, 2023. URL.
  5. Erythromycin. National Health Service. Accessed June 20, 2023. URL.
  6. Chlamydia. National Health Service. Accessed June 20, 2023. URL.
  7. Elsevier Inc. Ceftriaxone: Uses & side effects. Cleveland Clinic. 2023. Accessed June 20, 2023. URL.
  8. Syphilis. Mayo Clinic. September 25, 2021. Accessed June 20, 2023. URL.
  9. Trichomoniasis - STI treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 21, 2022. Accessed June 20, 2023. URL.
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