Are STIs really that dangerous? How common are they?
According to the CDC, “…over half (55.4%) of reported cases of STDs were among adolescents and young adults aged 15-24 years,”1 STIs, especially those that are left untreated, can pose a serious risk to overall health. You might be thinking, “Well, I would know if I had an STI.” Studies show that 70-90% of women and 90% of men do not realize they have chlamydia1. Having any type of abortion procedure (including a medical abortion), increases the risk of introducing any type of bacteria, either outside the body or in the vagina, into the cervix. Women who have an untreated STI (like chlamydia or gonorrhea) are up to 23% more likely to develop Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) following an abortion procedure.2
BE SAFE. GET TESTED.
What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?
PID is an infection in the female reproductive organs (uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes). PID can cause chronic pelvic pain and/or difficulty getting pregnant. Not all women develop symptoms of PID and some experience mild symptoms, which include abdominal pain, abnormal or heavy vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, abnormal vaginal bleeding, fever, or painful or difficulty with urination.3 Due to the issues that PID can cause on women’s long-term, overall health, it is recommended that any women, whether continuing with their pregnancy or terminating, should be tested for STIs.
- Farley TA, Cohen DA, Elkins W. Asymptomatic sexually transmitted diseases: the case for screening. Preventive medicine 2003;36:502-9; Korenromp EL, Sudaryo MK, de Vlas SJ, et al. What proportion of episodes of gonorrhoea and chlamydia becomes symptomatic? International journal of STD & AIDS 2002;13:91-101. See: Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet (Detailed)
- Westergaard L, Phillipsen T, Scheibel J (1982). “Significance of cervical Chlamydia trachomatis infection in postabortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, 68(5): 668-90; Ovigstad E, et al. (1983). “Pelvic inflammatory disease associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection after therapeutic abortion.” Br J Vener Dis, 59: 189-92; Heisterberg L, et al. (1987). “The role of vaginal secretory immunoglobulin a, gardnerella vaginalis, anaerobes, and Chlamydia trachomatis in post abortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 66(2): 99-102.
- “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (Pid).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Apr. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352594.