Sexually active women are more susceptible to
STDs and their complications as compared to men. This is due to the location and makeup of a woman’s reproductive tract. The vagina’s warm, moist environment is an ideal place for viruses and bacteria to grow. The vagina is also lined with
a thin mucous membrane compared to the tough skin that covers the penis, which provides a better barrier against STDs. Finally, because the vagina is located inside the body, a woman is less likely to notice symptoms if she is infected. For these reasons, it is very important for all women to get the facts about STDs. Here are a few key tips to help
you stay healthy and reduce your chances of getting infected:
Use a male or female lubricated
each time you have vaginal or anal sex. Don’t use condoms with nonoxynol-9 spermicide because they may irritate your vagina and make it easier to become infected with STDs. For oral sex on a man, use either a flavored or unlubricated male condom. If you want
to perform oral-anal sex on your partner (also called “rimming”) or he wants to do it to you, use a latex barrier (also called a
dental dam). Alternatives to dental dams include plastic wrap (e.g., Saran wrap) or a square made from a non-lubricated condom (cut off the tip of condom and then cut the condom lengthwise). Any of these can be placed against the vagina or anus during mouth-to-vagina or mouth-to-anus sex.
Use only water-based lubricants.
Any lubricant made with oil (e.g., baby oil, lotion, cream, Vaseline, etc.) can cause condom breakage.
Don’t self-diagnose when you have vaginal symptoms. Many women go to their local drugstore at the first signs of vaginal itching or unusual discharge. While anti-fungal creams like Monistat cure yeast infections, they do not cure other infections like STDs. Be sure to go to a doctor
or clinic to get checked.
Pregnancy and STDs