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Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women

There are dozens of diseases that are sexually transmitted. Some are very common, others are rare; some infections are only transmitted sexually, and others are more frequently transmitted through other routes such as sharing needles with contaminated blood. Women—especially young women—compared with men, are more frequently and severely affected by many but not all sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This entry focuses on 8 common infections in women that are transmitted primarily through sexual activities: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, hepatitis B, HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV). Rates of many of these STDs are higher in women than in men, and the long-term consequences are more severe. A number of factors contribute to the disproportionate rates, including biological, sociocultural, and demographic factors; health care–related factors; ...

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