Identifying and Treating the Most Common STD’s [Interview][Transcript]

Dr_Ted_Rosen_STDsGuest: Dr. Ted Rosen
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Ted Rosen, Professor of Dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, Chief of Dermatology at the Houston VA Medical Center and an expert in the treatment and diagnosis of both STD and non-STD genital lesions, including external genital warts (EGW) reminds us there is a great need for increased awareness when it comes to STDs and sexual health. He advises people to establish an open and honest relationship with their physicians in order to prevent STDs or to seek treatment immediately, if necessary. For more information on external genital warts and treatment options like VEREGEN, visit

Segment overview: Dr. Ted Rosen, MD, discusses the most common STD’s, and how to identify them and treat them.


Health Professional Radio – STD (Sexually transmitted disease)

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio is Dr. Ted Rosen, a Professor of Dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine, also Chief of Dermatology Service at Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas and he’s in studio today with us to discuss STDs, Sexually Transmitted Diseases. He’s an expert and specializes into treatment and diagnosis of STD and non-STD genital lesions and we’re here to address some of those issues. Good afternoon Doctor.

Dr. Ted Rosen Good afternoon. Nice to be with you.

N: Welcome to Health Professional Radio.

R: My pleasure.

N: You’re an expert in the most common STDs, those that I guess plague us the most. When it comes to identifying that I guess the most important thing is to be able to identify them, I guess that comes after preventing them in the first place, would you agree with that?

R: Certainly if a disease can be prevented, that’s the best thing of all and we do have vaccines for a number of diseases including at least one of the sexually transmitted diseases. Vaccines are great but not everyone receives their vaccines and some people are concerned about the potential long term health effects of vaccines. So the other way to prevent the disease would be to avoid it and of course the best way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases is to be abstinent or to be in a mutually monogamous relationship with someone who isn’t infected, both of those somewhat unrealistic for a majority of the sexually active adult population.

N: We’ve been hearing that for decades and decades.

R: Yeah, it’s true. People have asked “Why do we still have sexually transmitted diseases?” but the reality is that a lot of the folks walking around today don’t really realize how prevalent these are and of course people do things that they regret later when they’ve had a little too much to drink or too much to smoke and it is what it is.

N: Are there vaccines for all sexually transmitted diseases today?

R: Oh no. Unfortunately the only one we really have a vaccine for is human papilloma virus in terms of the sexually transmitted diseases.

N: So there’s only one that you can prevent through the vaccine, everything else has to be treated. Can you be vaccinated for HPV and still contract it or pass it on or once you have the vaccination is it something that boom you’re covered?

R: So there are actually three vaccines, they’re slightly different or HPV to my understanding that by the end of this calendar your 2016, one of those vaccines will no longer be offered because part of it is already included in a larger vaccine that has more HPV type and so we will have one vaccine that protects against two varieties of human papilloma virus, those are the ones that are predominantly responsible for genital cancer and then we’ll have a Nano valent, that’s nine valent vaccine that will protect against the two most common forms of HPV that cause genital warts as well as seven different varieties of HPV that cause cancer, but noticed I said “The most common types”. So yes, while the vaccine prevents against the most common it does not prevent against all the types that can cause either warts or genital cancer.

N: Okay, so if there are so many different types of one STD, what, in your opinion, is the reason that one is so prevalent where the others kind of hit and miss – is it a location, activity, age? What are some of the factors that contribute to that in your opinion?

R: The different STDs are transmissible at slightly different rates. So even though you maybe in contact with someone with some of the diseases they’re not as readily transmissible, also it depends upon the prevalence in the entire population. So for example HPV, if not the certainly one of the most prevalent diseases in society today in the US. There are close to 80 million people who are infected with HPV, we get roughly 14 million new HPV cases a year. That’s not all external genital warts, that’s all HPV but even if you look at external genital warts, 1% of the entire sexually active adult population has external genital warts and it’s estimated that there are about 350-400 thousand brand new cases of external genital warts. So you compare that with syphilis which is of course a very old disease, this goes back to renaissance and reformation time, but syphilis there were 20,000 cases of infects of syphilis. So you compare 20,000 to 350,000 cases? So you see some are more common just because they’re more common in society as a whole.

N: What steps are you personally involved in, in getting the word out on a much larger scale so that everyone knows the increased risk, the unknown risk that they’re already trying to prepare for?

R: So I think there are several levels of education that one can look at and I’ve been involved in all of them at one time or another and I’m still involved in some. So let’s take the very first level of education which is talking to our young people. So you have people who becomes sexually active in their adolescent years, many of them have courses that are required, health courses that are given in high school years and it’s important to have people who will talk openly, frankly and explicitly to our young people and explain what the risks are involved in sexual activity and what these diseases are, what they look like, what to avoid, how to try and prevent them and I’ve done that, high schools here locally or I’ve taught people who then go to high schools and teach these kinds of courses. Of course health professionals of all type who are available and willing to talk to their patients, that’s primary care physicians, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, primary care internal medicine, OBGYN and Urology and Dermatology because after all these are on the skin, also the well-versed in these and I’ve given courses and continue to do so to all of those groups. So they’re well educated and can talk appropriately to their patients that they see on a daily basis. So it starts as a youngster and it certainly carries on in adult life with the health care providers being available, being willing to talk about this subject, some people are resistant to do that, even health care professionals and then giving good information to patients.

N: Where can our listeners go online to get more information, specifically about HPV and about you and your work as well?

R: Well the best place to get general information about STDs is at the government, one of the government websites, actually it’s something that government does well and that would be at, for a change, that would be CDC that’s the Center for Disease Control and there’s information there on all sorts of communicable diseases and there’s a little tag that says STD or sexually transmitted disease. You click on that and it’ll give you some pretty good information, it’s written for the public, there’s a part that’s written for healthcare providers certainly and health care providers can go to that and if someone wants more basic information they can do that for HPV, other any number of websites, I think almost everybody’s…at using Google and you can find some of those website and get specific information. You have to be a little careful about websites because some don’t offer the best information. I really like the CDC, it’s a good, non-biased, fair information provider about sexually transmitted diseases.

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio talking with Dr. Ted Rosen, Professor of Dermatology at Balor College of Medicine, also Chief of Dermatology Services at Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas. We’ve been here discussing today some of the some common STDs, the most common HPV, STDs as well as how to identify them and some we touched a little bit on the treatment of some of these diseases. It’s been great having you here with us today Dr. Rosen.

R: Thank you for having me.

N: Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can also subscribe through our podcast on iTunes.

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