Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 16: Sexually Transmitted Infections and Other Infections of the Genitals

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HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 16: Sexually Transmitted Infections and Other Infections of the Genitals


Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. If everyone gave just $5 we could translate 50 more chapters.

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.


HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 16: Sexually Transmitted Infections and Other Infections of the Genitals


a man and woman talking while walking toward a health center
I don't want to go to the clinic.
But if we don't get cured together we'll just get infected again.

Early treatment of STIs in both partners can prevent many serious problems.

This chapter will also help you treat some problems of the genitals that are not sexually transmitted.

Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, are infections passed from one person to another during sex. Any type of sex can cause an STI. It can be penis to vagina sex, or penis to anus sex, or oral sex (mouth to penis, mouth to vagina). Sometimes STIs can happen from just rubbing an infected penis or vagina against another person’s genitals. STIs can be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby before it is born, or during childbirth. STIs increase the risk of getting or giving HIV.


Unless they are treated early, STIs can cause:

  • infertility in both men and women.
  • babies born too early, too small, blind, sick, or dead.
  • pregnancy in the tube (outside the womb).
  • death from severe infection.
  • lasting pain in the lower abdomen.
  • cancer of the cervix.


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