Women need to be concerned about STIs for these reasons.

Woman crying in bed

Mild symptoms can be mistaken for  “nothing” or something else, such as a urinary tract infection or vaginal yeast infection.

A woman’s ability to protect herself from STIs depends on whether she is able to get her partner to use a condom. Women who don’t feel they can choose to use a condom are at greater risk of getting STIs because they may feel forced to take part in unsafe sexual practices. This is true for women in relationships and for women who are victims of sexual assault.

Some STIs increase a woman’s risk of getting HIV/AIDS and other STIs because they irritate the vagina. Some cause open sores. This makes it easier for semen or vaginal fluid carrying HIV or other STIs to get inside a woman’s body.

Having prior STIs raises a woman’s risk of future STIs. The reasons for this are complex and include biological, behavioral, and social issues.

Silent and harmful STIs, such as chlamydia, affect young women at higher rates.

Women of color have STIs at higher rates than other women. In 2005, the rate of reported chlamydia was 7 times greater in black women and almost 5 times greater in American Indian/Alaska Native women than in white women. These differences might reflect limited access to quality healthcare, higher rates of poverty, and other health issues among these women.
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