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.