5 Common Lesbian Sexually Transmitted Diseases

When most people think of sexually transmitted diseases, lesbians aren’t usually the first thing that comes to mind.  After all, there’s no real penetration (skin-to-skin at least), so how can lesbians contract an STD?

But the truth is that lesbians can and do get STDs, which is why it’s so important to get tested on a regular basis if you’re sexually active.

How are these diseases spread and what are most common lesbian sexually transmitted diseases? We’ll answer all this and more.

How Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases Spread Among Lesbians?

Lesbian Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Lesbians are at the same risk for many of the STDs heterosexual women are at risk for. Diseases can spread in a variety of ways, including:

  • Mucosa contact
  • Skin-to-skin contact
  • Menstrual blood
  • The exchange of vaginal fluids
  • Sharing sex toys

STDs are one of the most important lesbian health issues because many falsely believe that they’re not at risk.

And lesbian STD statistics show that STD rates are three times higher among bisexual women than women who have sex exclusively with other women.

So yes, lesbians can get sexually transmitted diseases, and they are at even greater risk if they have sexual contact with women who have sex with both men and women.

5 Common Lesbian STDs

While there’s no such thing as a “lesbian STD,” there are some diseases that gay women are more vulnerable to.

Some of the most common STDs that afflict gay women include:

1.      Chlamydia

One of the most common sexually transmitted illnesses is chlamydia, and lesbian women can contract it just like heterosexual women can.

This STD is caused by bacteria, and is spread through oral, vaginal or anal sex.

If left untreated, chlamydia can damage a woman’s reproductive organs, including her fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries.

Known as the “silent infection,” this disease’s symptoms are mild, so it’s easily spread to others without the infected person knowing it.

The most common symptoms of chlamydia include:

  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Painful sexual contact
  • Bleeding in between periods

The good news? Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics before the symptoms above even develop.

2.      Bacterial Vaginosis (or BV)

Bacterial vaginosis is more common among lesbians than other women, and doctors are still unsure why. Typically, BV infects both women of couples.

This disease develops when the “bad” bacteria in the vagina outnumbers the “good” bacteria.

There are times when BV presents no symptoms, but most women will experience:

  • Itching in the vaginal area
  • Discharge that smells like fish

Like chlamydia, BV can be treated with antibiotics.

3.      HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

HPV is a disease with no cure, and it can lead to genital herpes. While there is no treatment for this illness, a healthy immune system can fight off an HPV infection.

In most cases, this disease causes no symptoms, and the body fights it off without it causing any harm to the infected person.

But there are cases where HPV can lead to cervical cancer.

4.      Genital Herpes

Lesbians are just as much at risk for genital herpes as heterosexual women. Herpes can be caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2, but most cases are caused by HSV-2. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes, but it’s more common to develop sores on the mouth and lips.

Most people experience no symptoms until a breakout occurs. When this happens, they will notice blisters on their genitals or rectum. When the blisters break, they leave behind a painful sore that can take weeks to heal.

There is still no cure for genital herpes, but there are medications available that can shorten and even prevent outbreaks.

5.      Trichomoniasis

Also known as “Trich,” this disease is actually caused by a parasite that is spread during sexual contact. It can also be contracted through simple contact with moist objects, like towels and wet clothes.

Symptoms of this STD include:

  • Discomfort during urination and sex
  • Gray, yellow or green vaginal discharge with a strong odor
  • Itching and irritation in the vaginal area

Trich can be treated with antibiotics.

Less Common STDs

The diseases above are the most common, but lesbians can also contract:

  • Hepatitis
  • Gonorrhea
  • HIV/AIDS

Prevention and Testing

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Routine STD testing is just as important for lesbians as it is heterosexual and gay individuals. If you are sexually active with multiple partners – no matter your sexual orientation – you are putting yourself at risk for contracting an STD.

Always get tested before having sex with a new partner or after spontaneous sex with a new partner. Routine testing every few months is recommended if you’re having sex with multiple partners.

Lesbian women can also reduce their risk of contracting an STD by:

Using a Dental Dam

Dental dams, a.k.a. lesbian condoms are thin latex squares that cover the vagina during oral sex. Their purpose is to prevent the spread of STDs, and they come in a wide range of flavors.

Experts recommend using a dental dam during oral sex until both partners can be tested for STDs.

Washing Sex Toys

Lesbians who share sex toys should ensure that they clean them properly after each use – before their partner uses them.

Because sex toys can penetrate the body, lesbians are at greater risk of contracting certain STDs through the use of unsanitary toys.

While STDs aren’t as common among lesbians, they aren’t impossible to contract. Getting tested regularly and practicing safe sex with new partners can help minimize the risks for both lesbian and bisexual women.

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