April 5, 2013

STD Awareness Month: Preventable Causes of Infertility

STD Awareness Month

April is STD Awareness Month. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are nearly 20 million new STD cases every year with half occurring in young adults ages 15-24. The cost of treatment is approximately $16 billion annually. Many STDs are treatable and most can be cured. The CDC recommends annual Chlamydia screening for all sexually active women 25 and under and for women older than 25 with risk factors such as a new sex partner or multiple partners.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common STDs and are important preventable causes of infertility. Other STDs include genital herpes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, trichomoniasis and, hepatitis B. Untreated, 10-15% of women with Chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Chlamydia can also cause infection in the fallopian tubes, uterus and surrounding pelvic tissues without any symptoms. These ‘silent’ infections often lead to fallopian tube damage resulting in hydrosalpinges (fluid filled fallopian tubes that are blocked) and pelvic adhesions.

STDs not only can cause infertility. Having an STD during pregnancy can harm the baby. In the case of Chlamydia and gonorrhea, the problems caused by these infections range from eye infections to pneumonia. Syphilis may cause miscarriage or stillbirth. HIV can also be transmitted to the baby.

If you have questions about your fertility, please contact us today!

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Joseph A. Hill, III, M.D.

Joseph A. Hill, III, M.D. Board-Certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility