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    DSHS HIV/STD Program

    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, Texas 78714

    Phone: (512) 533-3000

    E-mail the HIV/STD Program

    E-mail data requests to HIV/STD Program - This email can be used to request data and statistics on HIV, TB, and STDs in Texas. It cannot be used to get treatment or infection history for individuals, or to request information on programs and services. Please do not include any personal, identifying health information in your email such as HIV status, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, etc.

    For treatment/testing history, please contact your local Health Department.

    For information on HIV testing and services available to Persons Living with HIV and AIDS, 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 Electronic Publication Number E13-11887

Last updated March 17, 2015