Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are one of the most common gynecologic problems in sexu-ally active women. STDs can be transmitted by oral, vaginal, or anal sex. The transmission of an STD may have varied consequences, including infertility, cancer, and even death. STDs are the most common cause of pre-ventable infertility and are strongly associated with ectopic pregnancy. Sexually transmitted infections may increase the risk of HIV acquisition; preventing STDs is therefore an important strategy in preventing HIV infections. STDs can also take an individual toll, resulting in pain, discomfort, and strain on personal relationships.
Most STDs require skin-to-skin contact or exchange of body fluids for transmission. Anal sex poses a particu-larly high risk, because tissues in the rectum break easily, and organisms can be transmitted through these breaks. Several STDs can be transmitted through oral-genital con-tact. Some patients may not consider this type of sexual contact at-risk behavior, or may not consider themselves sexually active when engaging in this behavior.
Assessment for STDs should be a routine part of women’s healthcare.
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