OTHER INFECTIONS

There are several infections you should know about because sex can make them worse or they are linked to sexual activity, but they don’t spread by sexual activity alone. They include:

BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS

WHAT IS BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS (BV)?

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial infection in the vagina. A vagina normally has both “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria. Sometimes the normal balance of both bacteria is disrupted or replaced by an overgrowth of the “bad” bacteria-which causes Bacterial Vaginosis. BV is the most common vaginal infection in young women.

HOW IS BV SPREAD?

No one really knows the direct cause of BV. Any woman can get BV, but some activities can make it more likely that the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina be changed. Those activities include (but aren’t limited to) having a new sex partner, having multiple sex partners, or douching.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BV?

Most women who have BV don’t have any symptoms. But if a woman does have symptoms, she’ll have an abnormal discharge (usually white or grey), pain or discomfort during sex, itching, burning during urination or sex, and/or she might notice a foul odor. Some women report having a strong fishy odor, especially after having sex.

It is normal for a woman’s vagina to have a discharge that is thicker or thinner depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle, but anything out of the ordinary should be checked. Women’s vaginas don’t usually have an obvious odor, so if one is noticed it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a healthcare provider.

CAN YOU BE TESTED FOR BV?

A healthcare provider will examine the vagina and cervix (opening to the uterus) for signs and symptoms of BV to make sure that nothing more serious might be happening. He or she will also do lab tests on a sample of vaginal fluid to look for bacteria.

CAN BV BE TREATED?

BV is treated with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider. There are a couple of different kinds of antibiotics which are recommended for treatment, including a pill form or a gel that’s inserted into the vagina. Both are safe for use in pregnancy. BV can come back after treatment. Male sex partners usually do not need to be treated. However, BV may be passed between two women who have sex with one another.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T GET TREATMENT?

The bacteria that cause BV can sometimes infect the uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus). This type of infection is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can be very serious. PID can cause infertility or can increase a woman’s risk of ectopic pregnancy (a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube which can rupture).

WHAT IF YOU’RE DIAGNOSED WITH BV?

In most cases, BV doesn’t cause any complications. But there can be some risks from BV:

  • BV can make it easier to get HIV or other STDS like chlamydia and gonorrhea if exposed to them;
  • BV can make it easier for an HIV-infected woman to pass HIV to her sex partner;
  • BV can increase the development of an infection following surgeries like hysterectomies or abortions;
  • BV while pregnant may increase risk for some complications, such as pre-term birth.

IS BV PREVENTABLE?

There is no known way to prevent BV, but women can do some things to prevent upsetting the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina:

  • Don’t have sex;
  • Use condoms;
  • Limit the number of sex partners;
  • Do not douche;
  • Wash anything that has come in contact with the anus before vaginal insertion;
  • Take all of the medicine prescribed for BV, even if the symptoms go away.

SCABIES

WHAT IS SCABIES?

Scabies are tiny mites that burrow into and live under the skin (this is called an infestation).

HOW DOES SCABIES SPREAD?

Scabies spread by direct, prolonged skin-to-skin contact, but it can also spread through infested clothing, sheets, covers or towels. Thus, sexual partners and people living with someone who has scabies are at risk.

what are the signs and symptoms of scabies?

People who have scabies have intense itching, especially at night, and a pimple-like rash on the skin. This rash often starts between the fingers or toes and spreads toward the rest of the body, but not to the head (except in infants).

It usually clusters in skin folds, including elbows, knees, penises, breasts and on the skin between fingers and toes. First time infestations may take 4-6 weeks until signs or symptoms show up. Future infestations may only take a few days until symptoms are noticeable.

CAN YOU BE TESTED FOR SCABIES?

If you think you may have scabies, you will need to see a health care provider so that he or she can look at the rash and possibly take a skin-scraping to find mites or eggs.

CAN SCABIES BE TREATED?

A healthcare provider can prescribe lotions or creams that will treat the scabies. The medication kills the mites, but the itching may continue for several weeks, because skin that was infected is especially sensitive. Treatment should not be repeated unless you’re told to do so by the healthcare provider. Don’t try home remedies that may not be safe or effective.


WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T GET TREATMENT?

The rash will keep causing itching, and scabies that are left untreated can lead to a bacterial infection from scratching since bacteria and germs that are often found under fingernails can get into the sores.

WHAT IF YOU’RE DIAGNOSED WITH SCABIES?

Finish all prescribed treatment(s) by your healthcare provider. You will need to wash all clothing, bedding and towels you used in the last few days before you used the treatment lotion or cream for the first time. These items must be washed in a very hot laundry cycle, followed by a hot dryer cycle. Items that cannot be washed may be dry cleaned or put in a plastic bag for 1 week.

If you have a current sex partner, your sex partner should get medical attention to see if they have scabies and to get their own treatment. Avoid close bodily contact, including sexual activity, until you and all sex partners have been evaluated or treated.

WHAT IF YOU’RE DIAGNOSED WHILE PREGNANT?

A scabies infection will not affect the baby while you’re pregnant and a healthcare provider will often prescribe the same treatment as for a non-pregnant woman. However, if you have a partner who’s already gotten treatment, you should not use your partner’s treatment; a healthcare provider must decide if a different prescription or dosage is required. Other steps should be followed as described above.

IS SCABIES PREVENTABLE?

Scabies is one of the most preventable infections. Good hygiene goes a long way toward ensuring you don’t expose yourself to infection. If someone you live with, or share a bed, clothing, or towels with is diagnosed with a scabies infection, it’s important to wash all items and avoid prolonged periods of close bodily contact until the infected person has received treatment.

URINARY TRACT INFECTION

WHAT IS URINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI)?

UTIs are common infections caused when abnormal bacteria get into the urinary tract. Although UTIs are rarely serious, they are of concern for several reasons. First, UTI’s are typically painful for both men and women. Second, when the body is fighting off a UTI, it is easier to get other bacterial infections, like chlamydia and gonorrhea.

WHAT CAUSES A UTI?

A UTI happens most often, when bacteria from the rectal/anal area moves towards the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder). This can happen when people don’t keep themselves clean or in women who wipe “back to front” after pooping. UTIs can also be caused by:

  • Unprotected anal sex followed by unprotected vaginal sex.
  • Women can experience a UTI from vaginal intercourse alone, since the motion of the penis can push bacteria into the vagina and into the urinary tract.
  • Waiting too long after you first feel the need to urinate can lead to a buildup of bacteria and cause a UTI.
  • Pregnancy can cause changes that lead to a UTI

what are the signs and symptoms of a uti

UTIs are often easily identified because they cause people to feel like they need to urinate often, followed by a burning or sharp pain after urinating. Some people also have lower back or belly pain.

CAN YOU BE TESTED FOR A UTI?

A healthcare provider can easily test for a UTI by checking a urine sample. Because UTI symptoms are like those caused by other infections, your provider may also check for things like STDs at the same time.

CAN UTI BE TREATED?

UTIs can be treated with antibiotics. Usually, the antibiotics will be prescribed for 7-10 days. All doses should be taken to ensure the treatment is effective in killing all the bacteria. A doctor can also give a prescription for a medicine that takes away painful urination.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T GET TREATMENT?

If left untreated, UTI bacteria can go further into the urinary tract and cause a kidney infection or failure. Also, having a UTI makes your body less able to fight against other infections, like STDs, making it easier for you to get other infections. If you think you have a UTI, be sure to see a healthcare provider. If a UTI is diagnosed, take all medication as prescribed.

WHAT IF YOU’RE DIAGNOSED WHILE PREGNANT?

Pregnant women can experience UTIs as a result of normal changes in the urinary tract during pregnancy. UTIs, if untreated, can cause kidney infection. In pregnant women, that kidney infection can lead to complications, including increased risk of pre-term labor and low birth weight for the baby. In order to make sure you and your baby are least affected by the UTI, take all prescribed medicine.

ARE UTIs PREVENTABLE?

UTIs may not be 100% preventable, but there are things you can do to lower the chance of getting a UTI:

  • Wipe front to back, wash hands after going to the bathroom, and wash hands and genitals with gentle soap and water after sexual activity;
  • DO NOT douche;
  • Use latex condoms when having sexual activity. If you have anal sex, change the condom before you have vaginal sex;
  • If you’re allergic to latex, use a polyurethane condom;
  • Urinate within 30 minutes after having vaginal sex;
  • Drink plenty of fluids during the day, and don’t wait too long if you need to urinate;
  • Drinking pure cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements regularly can help prevent UTIs;
  • Wear underwear with a cotton crotch area to keep bacteria from accumulating near the genitals.


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