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STDs and Women

Worldwide, there are approximately 357 million new infections of chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Many STDs show no symptoms in women but left untreated, STDs can lead can cause a range of problems. Keep reading for more information about STD risks and prevention.

STDs in Women

Symptoms and Statistics of STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases (sometimes called infections) are passed through vaginal, anal, or oral sexual contact and can include the following symptoms

  • Pain — during urination or during sex. Urination pain may be accompanied by blood in the urine. Pain during sex can indicate pelvic inflammatory disease caused by gonorrhea or trichomoniasis.
  • Itching is a non-specific and common symptom. May be an indication of genital warts or bacterial and viral STDs.
  • Rashes or sores; around mouth and vagina can indicate herpes, HPV, or syphilis. It’s estimated that one in five Americans has genital herpes but about 90 percent don’t know they have it.
  • Unusual discharge (yellow or green) might indicate gonorrhea or trichomoniasis.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that more than 50 percent of new chlamydia and gonorrhea cases are in women between 15 and 24. Many women don’t show symptoms but left untreated, there is a heightened risk for developing fertility problems, cervical cancer, and the likelihood of complications like abdominal pain and ectopic pregnancy. The CDC says untreated STDs cause infertility in at least 24,000 women in the US yearly.

Common STDs in Women

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer and the most common STD in women
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia, the most commonly reported STD in the United States
  • Genital herpes

Prevention of STDs

Get Tested Regularly

Women should get a Pap smear every three to five years. Ask if you should be tested for any other STDs or if the HPV vaccination is suggested for you.


Using a condom during any form of sex can help protect both you and your partner. Female condoms and dental dams can also provide a level of protection.

Pregnancy with an STD

You can still contract an STD while pregnant but you may not know it. This can be life-threatening to you and your baby. Treatments for viral and bacterial STDs are safe to take during pregnancy.


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