Who is at more risk?

Persons with female genitalia are more susceptible to infections than persons with male genitalia due to the following factors.

  • Female genitalia which includes the cervix and the vagina has a comparatively greater exposure area.
  • The vagina is also at risk of small tears due to friction during penetrative sex with male genitalia, fingers, sex toys. These tears or cuts are avenues for STIs.
  • The vagina is lined by a thin epithelial layer through which bacteria can pass easily. Also, the vagina remains moist providing a supportive environment for the bacteria to grow.
  • Certain STIs like  Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV and Hepatitis B are asymptomatic in women. 
  • Sometimes symptoms like unusual vaginal discharge tend to be ignored by attributing it to hormonal change.  
  • STIs are often confused with UTI due to some overlapping symptoms
  • STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, if left untreated can lead to chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy where the baby grows in fallopian tubes instead of the uterus resulting in a risk to mother’s life, infertility.