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What Are the Most Common Female STDs?

Genital herpes and chlamydia are two common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that affect women.
Syphilis is a common STD in women.
Typically, all pregnant women are screened for sexually transmitted diseases in order to prevent spreading them to their developing babies.
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  • Written By: Jillian O Keeffe
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2014
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The prevalence of a particular sexually transmitted disease (STD) in women depends on the country they live in and other factors. There are nine STDs that infect a significant proportion of women worldwide. These include diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and parasites. All female STDs can infect men, but some diseases infect women more often than men.

Some of the most common STDs are curable. These are chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and chancroid. HIV, hepatitis, genital herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV) do not have cures through medication. Although, the body usually gets rid of HPV naturally after two years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States reports that the most common of all curable female STDs in that country is trichomoniasis. Caused by a parasite, female carriers may have no symptoms. When symptoms are present, the infection results in unusual discharge, vaginal irritation, and discomfort.

In the bacterial category, chlamydia is most prevalent in women living the U.S. The infection is normally asymptomatic in women but can cause infertility if left untreated. Babies can also contract the disease during birth from their mother.

Gonorrhea is another STD that affects women more than men. Symptoms of this bacterial disease include vaginal discharge and pain when urinating. It can also result in infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Chlamydia and gonorrhea together are the leading causes of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which is itself a cause of infertility.

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Syphilis is another relatively common bacterial STD of women. The disease causes sores on the skin, which allow transmission of the infection during sexual intercourse. Untreated syphilis can cause deterioration of bone, skin, and organs.

The most common of all untreatable female STDs in the developed world is the human papilloma virus (HPV). More than 40 strains of the virus affect humans. Some cause genital warts, but most of the strains do not usually cause symptoms.

The high prevalence of the virus is due to the lack of symptoms and the fact that sexual partners can transmit the infection without showing any symptoms. HPV can cause cervical cancer in some infected women who may not even know they have it. Vaccines are available in some countries against some of the strains, but there is no cure for the infection.

Viral hepatitis is another disease in the list of most common female STDs. Hepatitis B is transmitted through sexual contact and can result in liver damage. A vaccine for hepatitis B exists. Herpes is another viral STD that can affect women. It causes sores in the skin and is incurable.

HIV prevalence in women is higher in some developing countries, such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa, than in developed countries. In addition, globally, HIV affects slightly more women than men. HIV leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is fatal. The presence of an STD, such as gonorrhea or chancroid, can make HIV transmission from one partner to another more likely.

Chancroid, a bacterial STD, is more common in developing countries than developed parts of the world. Symptoms include sores or painful urination. The disease is easily treatable with antibiotics.

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