Contraceptive Technology and Reproductive Health Series: Home Page Contraceptive Technology and Reproductive Health Series Back to FHI Website
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Introduction Contents Post-Test References Go To Presenter Info


Section 1

- Introduction
- Overview
- Objectives
- Infections
- Most Common
- Ulcerative
- Non-Ulcerative
- Curable
- Incurable
- Factors
- Consequences
- Risk of HIV
- STD Control
- Transmitters
- Containing
- Social Norms
- Condom Use
- Management
- Challenges
- Program Level
> Women at Risk
- Reaching Men
- Adolescents
- Adolescents
- Reaching
- Prevention
- Management
- Summary

Section 2
Section 3


Previous pageNext page

Section 1 - STDs: An Overview

Program Level: Women at Risk

  • Low status may limit ability to negotiate safer sex, obtain information and receive health care

  • Vaginal surface is larger and more vulnerable to infection than penis

  • STDs are often asymptomatic in women and go untreated

  • Blood transfusions after delivery may expose women to HIV and hepatitis B

Slide 21

Women are vulnerable to STDs for social and economic reasons. Compared to men, women generally have low status, education, income and power. Social and economic dependency may limit a woman’s ability to refuse unsafe sex or negotiate safer sex. She may also find it difficult to obtain information about disease prevention, or to seek and receive health care. Women striving to survive economically also may be drawn into the sex industry, where STD transmission is common.

Women are also biologically more vulnerable to STDs than are men. Women are more susceptible to STDs during sexual intercourse because the vaginal surface is larger and more vulnerable to sexual secretions than the primarily skin-covered penis. Also, the volume of potentially infected male ejaculate deposited in a woman’s vagina during intercourse is larger than the potentially infected cervical and vaginal secretions to which men are exposed.

STDs in women tend to go untreated because they are often asymptomatic. As already noted, an untreated STD increases susceptibility to HIV infection.

Because of childbirth complications and post-childbirth anemia, women sometimes receive blood transfusions after delivery. Receiving transfused blood from places where the blood supply is not tested for infection puts women at risk of HIV and hepatitis B.

Programs that are considering their strategic impact on the STD epidemic may want to focus limited resources for STDs on women who are at particularly high risk.



Previous page      Next page