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    DSHS HIV/STD Program

    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, Texas 78714

    Phone: (512) 533-3000

    DSHS strives to respond to all email requests in a timely manner. It is important to note, however, that messages that you send to us by email may not be secure and may be intercepted by a third party. Therefore, we recommend that you do not send any confidential health information to us by email.

Bacterial Vaginosis Fact Sheet

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BV
OTHER NAMES Vaginitis, vaginosis, gardnerella vaginalis
ORGANISM Bacteria (e.g., gardnerella, mycoplasma hominis, mobiluncus), caused by an overgrowth of bacteria
TRANSMISSION Although BV occurs most often in sexually active women, it is unclear whether or not it is sexually transmitted.
TYPICAL SYMPTOMS Smelly vaginal discharge, may resemble “fishy” smell and be stronger after sex. Some have a white or gray discharge. Many have no symptoms.
DIAGNOSIS Inexpensive, simple clinical tests, including taking a sample of vaginal secretions and viewing it under a microscope.
TREATMENT Prescription oral antibiotic pills or prescription vaginal creams.
PREVENTION

Don't have sex (abstinence) - Although not much is known about how women get BV, women who have a new sex partner or who have had multiple sex partners are more likely to develop BV.

Monogamy - If you do have sex, stay with one partner who you are sure only has sex with you. Use condoms unless tests show that your partner does not have STDs.

Take Precautions - If you do not choose abstinence or monogomy, then limit the number of sex partners and use a latex condom during the entire sex act (vaginal, anal, and oral) every time. Be sure to put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth, or anus.

Avoid Drug Use - Mind-altering drugs, including alcohol, reduce our ability to reason, which can lead to risky behavior and risky sex.

Education - Health and sex education with special emphasis on abstinence and the use of a latex condom during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Do not use douches or vaginal deodorant sprays.

DANGER

BV can cause complications during pregnancy.

Having BV can increase a woman's chance of getting HIV or other STDs if exposed.

COMMENTS

BV is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age.

Do not use nonprescription products such as yeast medicine. Male sexual partners do not need treatment.

DSHS Electronic Publication Number E13-11887


Last updated February 23, 2011