Women's healthcare, like any other area of medicine, encounters infections that are spread person to person. The majority of the infections and germs that are seen at an obstetrical and gynecologic office are related to sexually transmitted infections. Sexually transmitted infections can be spread through contact with skin, mucous membranes, genitals, or bodily fluids. These infections can be a result of sexual contact via penile-vaginal, anal or oral cavities (ACOG, 2010).
Sexually transmitted infections are prevalent among people of all ages, affecting over 19 million people every year. Of the 19 million affected, 9 million or 48% are among young adults (ACOG, 2010). Some of the most common infections present are: chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papilloma virus, genital herpes, human immunosuppression virus, syphilis, scabies and trichomoniasis (CDC, 2010).
The majority of sexually transmitted infections do not show symptoms initially. If not treated, some sexually transmitted infections can lead to very harmful complications including infertility and death.
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for being infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Sexually transmitted infections are not selective in the people that are infected by them. Women who have had one partner are at risk along with women who have had multiple partners.
Many sexually transmitted infections can be treated with antibiotics; others can only be managed, which means controlling symptoms of outbreaks or of the disease itself. The management of such infections would be discussed by the physician and the patient upon testing positive.
At Virginia Obstetrics and Gynecology we offer screening for sexually transmitted infections. There are multiple means of screening to provide our patients options. Testing can currently be done by urine, cervical culture or blood.