• DSHS HIV/STD Program
    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, TX 78714

    Phone: 737-255-4300

    Email the HIV/STD Program

    Email HIV, STD, Hepatitis C, and TB data requests to the Program – Use this email to request Texas HIV, STD, Hepatitis C, and TB data and statistics. Do not use this email to request treatment or infection history for individuals, or to request information on programs or services. Do not email personal, identifying health information such as HIV status, date of birth, or Social Security Number.

    For treatment/testing history, please contact your local health department.

    For information on HIV testing and services available to persons living with HIV, please contact your local HIV services organization.

Bacterial Vaginosis Fact Sheet

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.

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.


BV can cause complications during pregnancy.

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


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 Publication Number 13-11887

Last updated June 17, 2021