Sexually transmitted infections between women who have sex with women are not uncommon. Here’s how women can avoid or prevent them.
Although as researchers conceded as recently as 2004 that genital warts, genital herpes and trichomonas infections occurred, it was believed that infections with HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea were rare.
Hold on! Not so fast!
In a large systematic review conducted by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, researchers revealed important information about the incidence of sexually transmitted infections among women who have sex with women and the incidence of sexually transmitted infections among women who have sex with both men and women.
The findings may surprise you. For example, women who had sex with both men and women or exclusively with women, had a higher incidence of chlamydial infection than women who reported sex exclusively with male partners.
Although transmission of the HIV virus appears to be rare in women who exclusively have sex with women, the research reported here confirms that the transmission of syphilis, hepatitis A, trichomonas, herpes I & II viruses and the human papilloma virus are transmitted woman to woman.
Based on this knowledge, what are the risk factors for acquiring a sexually transmitted infection in women who have sex with women and how can STIs be prevented?
- Choose sex partners wisely. Avoid women who have sex with gay or bisexual men, use intravenous drugs or sell sex for money
- Clean sex toys after every use and
- Be screened for sexual infections should you violate safe sex practices or have symptoms suggesting a STI.
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Gorgos, L. and Marrazzo, J., 2011. Sexually transmitted infections among women who have sex with women. Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 53, Issue suppl_3, 15 December 2011, Pages S84–S91. Online [available at]: https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/53/suppl_3/S84/312345 Accessed February 23, 2019.
Bailey, J., et al., 2004. Sexually transmitted infections in women who have sex with women. BMJ, Vol. 80, Issue 3. Online [available at]: https://sti.bmj.com/content/80/3/244 Accessed February 23, 2019.