Let's Talk About Safe Sex

what std does doxycycline treat

By: RSC Editorial Team

March 2, 2023

What STD Does Doxycycline Treat?

Learning that you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can be alarming and embarrassing. However, know that most STDs are treatable with antibiotic medications. With same-day STD testing from Rapid STD Testing, you can identify infections quickly and discover treatment options like doxycycline.

A recent clinical study showed that a single dose of doxycycline can effectively prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) after unprotected sex. What STD does doxycycline treat, specifically? The following sexually transmitted bacterial infections are treatable with doxycycline:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis

If you have contracted an STD or STI, you're not alone or without options. Doxycycline has helped many patients manage their symptoms, kill the bacteria causing the infection, and get back to a normal sex life. Keep reading to learn more about this medication and how it can help treat sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

Medicating with Doxycycline

If you've had infections resulting from certain types of bacteria, you may have come across doxycycline when reviewing treatment options. Healthcare providers have been using doxycycline since the 1960s but only recently understood how it can treat STDs.

What Is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is part of a class of medications called tetracycline antibiotics. These medications stop the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to infection and may have anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, doxycycline prevents your body from producing a certain bacterial protein, which treats your bacterial infection. However, it does not work for non-bacterial infections like the flu, common cold, or viral infections.

This tetracycline antibiotic goes by several different brand names in the United States: Adoxa, Doryx, Oracea, Periostat, and Vibramycin, just to name a few. These FDA-approved products may come in different packaging and different forms, but they all work similarly.

What Does Doxycycline Treat?

Doxycycline isn't just an STD treatment. Doctors use this antibiotic to help manage eye infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease, and bacterial pneumonia. In addition, patients have used doxycycline with other prescription drugs to reduce acne breakouts, prevent malaria, and treat the underlying cause of gum disease.

Doxycycline is also a treatment for several STDs or STIs and various other infections. When it comes to sexually transmitted bacterial infections, you may wonder, “What STD does doxycycline treat?” Doctors may prescribe this medication if you are suffering from the following STDs:

  • Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea is one of the most prevalent STDs caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It's a highly contagious STD that can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and gonococcal infections if left untreated. Doxycycline helps fight against gonorrhea by attacking the Neisseria gonorrhea bacteria to stop the infection. You may need to take another medication in addition to doxycycline to clear up a gonorrhea infection.
  • Chlamydia: Another common STD is chlamydia. Chlamydia affects millions of people worldwide and results in symptoms like pain in the genital area, unusual vaginal or penile discharge, and bleeding between periods. Is doxycycline used to treat chlamydia? Yes, randomized trials show the efficacy of azithromycin and doxycycline in treating chlamydial infections. 
  • Syphilis: Although research is limited, one 2017 study suggests that doxycycline may help treat syphilis. Syphilis is a bacterial infection spread through sexual intercourse and includes several stages. Talk to your doctor about doxycycline if your rapid STD test came back positive for syphilis.

How long does doxycycline take to cure chlamydia and other bacterial infections? It takes seven days for the medication to cure the infection, so avoid having sex during this time to prevent the risk of spreading an STI to a partner.

Doxycycline and STDs

You've probably heard of all the ways to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Wear a condom, don't share towels or undergarments, wash thoroughly before and after sex, etc. However, the only surefire way to avoid getting an STD is to avoid having sex. No sex equals no STD.

Unfortunately, refraining from sexual contact is not always easy or possible. You may contract an STD and not even know it for quite a while. Antibiotics for STDs like doxycycline can help manage symptoms, keep your sexual partners safe, and enable you to move on with your life.

In 2019, a collaborative study determined that doxycycline is incredibly effective in helping treat STDs. The study involved over 500 participants, including homosexual men and transgender women taking an HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) or living with HIV. Researchers ended the trial earlier than expected because the results were overwhelmingly conclusive.

Doxycycline is perhaps even more effective than other STD-prevention methods. For example, single-dose therapies like on-demand HIV PrEP guarantee protection from HIV up to almost 100%. However, it offers no protection from chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trachomatis infection. Doxycycline does.

Doxycycline is also different because you take it after sex to prevent an infection. Other prevention methods take place beforehand — for example, putting on a condom, taking HIV PrEP, or simply abstaining from sexual intercourse. You can take doxycycline after the fact to stay safe and avoid complications related to STIs.

Does Doxycycline Treat All STDs?

Now that you know “what STD does doxycycline treat?” the question is: Does doxycycline treat all types of sexually transmitted diseases? The short answer is no. While doxycycline is an effective treatment option for many bacterial STIs, it will not work for all of them.

Doxycycline treats bacterial infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea. If you have a viral STD, doxycycline will not work. Doxycycline does not treat the following STDs:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): HPV is the most common STI, accounting for over 40 million infections in 2018. It can spread through oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, and close skin-to-skin contact during sex.
  • Herpes simplex virus (HSV): HSV or herpes is another viral STI that affects many people. Symptoms may include cold sores, blisters, and pain in the genital region.
  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV): HBV can spread through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex and lead to hepatitis B infection. 

Even if you do not have viral STDs like HPV or herpes, your body might not react well to doxycycline treatment. This could be due to several reasons, such as:

  • Resistant STD strains: Doxycycline can treat many strains of common sexually transmitted infections, but not all. Some strains of gonorrhea, for instance, are resistant to doxycycline, no matter how much you take. For this reason, healthcare professionals do not use doxycycline alone to treat gonorrhea — they use it to reduce symptoms and prevent complications. 
  • Developed resistance: Over time, STIs may develop a resistance to doxycycline. For example, doxycycline is currently the go-to treatment option for patients suffering from syphilis who are allergic to penicillin. Azithromycin used to be the go-to medication, but the STI quickly developed a resistance to it. The same could happen with the doxycycline antibiotic if patients continually use it to treat STDs.

STD prevention pills and antibiotics like doxycycline are likely your best options when it comes to treating bacterial STIs. Once used to treat malaria, doxycycline could become the next major advancement in the world of STD research. It could lead to many more crucial breakthroughs and be a significant step toward finding a cure.

Although doxycycline works effectively for many different types of STDs and infections, it will not work for everything. Sexually transmitted viral infections like herpes and HPV require other treatment methods, and some strains of bacterial infections may resist or develop a resistance to this prescription drug. At Rapid STD Testing, we offer a 10-panel STD test to help you find answers and make informed decisions moving forward.

How to Get Doxycycline

Doxycycline is not an over-the-counter medication like aspirin or ibuprofen. You'll need to get a prescription from your physician before you can purchase it. Although you may see some websites advertise online doxycycline capsules or tablets, you should only purchase this drug from a reputable pharmacy with a prescription from your doctor. 

Doxycycline comes in a wide variety of forms, depending on your preferences and needs. Below are the available dosage forms. Always follow the disease's treatment guidelines carefully when taking any prescription medication.

  • Capsules: You can take oral doxycycline in several forms, including capsules. Doxycycline capsules can provide extended release, allowing your body to absorb the drug slowly over a longer period of time. Do not crush, split, or remove the contents of doxycycline capsules.
  • Tablets: Another form of doxycycline intake involves tablets. Unlike capsules, tablets do not have an outer shell containing medicinal contents. Some doxycycline tablets provide a delayed release when taken orally.
  • Syrup: Doxycycline is also available in liquid form. You can drink it as you would other medicine. Many patients who struggle to swallow capsules prefer doxycycline syrup.
  • Powder: Doxycycline powder works well for suspended release. You can take it orally and see results within seven days.

The most convenient way to get doxycycline is online. Prescriptions are a requirement, and you can fill them at a licensed, FDA-approved online pharmacy.


Do you suspect you may have an STD like chlamydia or gonorrhea? If your test results are positive, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Talk to your doctor and see if doxycycline is right for you.

Before purchasing doxycycline, you must get a prescription. Your doctor can assess your situation, identify symptoms, and review your medical history to determine the best treatment option. If appropriate, you will receive a prescription for doxycycline.

Once you obtain a doxycycline prescription, you can visit your local drugstore or browse the full list of licensed online pharmacies on the FDA website. If you want to avoid going to the pharmacy to pick up your STD medication, you can submit your prescription and have the medication shipped right to your door. When taking doxycycline capsules, tablets, syrups, or powders, always follow the instructions on the product label and read through the dosage information.

Doxycycline isn't the right treatment for every patient suffering from a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. Your doctor may prescribe other antibiotics or different treatment options according to your circumstances. Taking doxycycline against your doctor's orders could put you at risk of severe health conditions and concerns.

Warnings and Precautions

If you're wondering, “What STD does doxycycline treat?” you may also wonder, “What should I know before taking doxycycline?” As with almost any medication, doxycycline comes with a few warnings and precautions. For instance, do not take doxycycline if you are allergic to it or other tetracycline antibiotics, including:

  • Demeclocycline
  • Tetracycline
  • Minocycline
  • Tigecycline

Doxycycline is not for everyone. Let your physician know if you have kidney or liver disease, sulfite allergies, asthma, or intracranial hypertension. Additionally, avoid taking doxycycline if you currently take seizure medications, isotretinoin, or warfarin. 

Consuming foods and beverages with high levels of calcium can impact the effectiveness of doxycycline. Cheese, yogurt, milk, and other dairy products can inhibit your body's ability to absorb the medication.

How you take doxycycline and how frequently depends on multiple factors, including:

  • Your age
  • The condition you want to treat
  • The condition's severity
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Your body's reaction to the initial dose

For example, seniors may be at higher risk of adverse effects when taking doxycycline. Breastfeeding women should avoid taking doxycycline, as well as pregnant women, due to inadequate research on the prenatal effects of this antibiotic. 

Side Effects

You may experience side effects when taking oral doxycycline tablets. Side effects are typically mild and will dissipate shortly. However, some are more severe and may require immediate medical attention.

Common side effects of doxycycline include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Rash or hives

In some cases, patients taking doxycycline may experience severe side effects, like high fevers, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and burning chest pain. Stop taking doxycycline if you experience these or other worsening symptoms. Call 911 if you feel like your life is in danger.

When to Consult with Your Doctor

Getting doxycycline requires you to consult with your doctor and receive a prescription. However, you may need to speak with your doctor again once you start doxycycline dosages. Consult with your doctor if you experience the following while taking doxycycline:

  • Troubling or life-threatening side effects
  • Signs of an allergic reaction

You should always talk to your doctor if you begin taking another medication that could interact poorly with doxycycline. Also, inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Doing so can help you get the treatment you need and avoid potential health risks to you and your baby.

Visit a Rapid STD Testing Site Near You

Living with a sexually transmitted disease can be frustrating and scary, leaving you with a lot of questions and concerns. However, it's easy to find a sexual health clinic and get answers to help you face the road ahead. At Rapid STD Testing, we value your privacy and offer confidential STD testing throughout the United States that provides quick, accurate results.

What STD does doxycycline treat? Rapid STD Testing has the resources you need to learn about this and other sexual health topics. Visit one of our state-of-the-art testing locations near you to get started today. 


Get Tested for STDs and HIV Privately and Conveniently

No embarrassing exams, long waiting lines, or multiple visits. Just a quick lab visit for fast results.



By: RSC Editorial Team
March 2, 2023

Discover a lifestyle-focused approach to quality content at RapidSTDtesting.com. Unlike others, we don't rely on gimmicks or fabricated data to lure visitors. Our commitment goes beyond clicks – we're dedicated to answering the questions you search for online. With a team comprising medical experts and content specialists, our articles are meticulously crafted to promote STD testing, educate, and dismantle social stigmas.

Embrace a confidential atmosphere with our private testing options, ensuring your privacy is paramount. Every article is meticulously fact-checked and approved by medical advisors, guaranteeing accuracy and reliability. Our team, comprised of doctors and medical professionals, ensures that each piece of content serves a purpose – to inform, educate, and promote awareness.

Join us as we bridge the gap between medical expertise and lifestyle choices. RapidSTDtesting.com is your trusted source for informative, medically vetted content.