Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT
Below you’ll find an STD list of STDs commonly found in women* and those less common in women based on percentage of cases each year, type of infection and location of infection, as well as how the infection is transmitted.
You can also see the full STD List in alphabetical order with links to detailed symptoms, test, treatment, and STD pictures.
*It’s important to note, while this article uses language focused on “women,” this information is relevant to anyone with a a vulva, vagina, cervix, and/or uterus, and we are simply targeting common search terms. If you are a person who identifies as a woman but still has a penis, then our article about most common STDs in men would be a helpful resource as well.
STD List for Women – Common
Chlamydia – A very common bacterial infection, as many as 50 percent of men and 75 percent of women do not know they have it.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) – An extremely common herpes-type virus, CMV infects more than half of all adults in the US by the age of 40.
Gonorrhea (‘The Clap’) – A very common bacterial infection; rates have been decreasing in the general population; however, rates are rising among teens and young adults.
Hepatitis – Hepatitis A, B, and C are viruses that destroy the liver. Hepatitis B is the form of hepatitis most commonly spread through sexual activity.
Herpes (Genital Herpes, HSV1, and HSV2) – About 1 in 5 people in the US over age 12 is infected with HSV2 – the strain of the herpes virus that most commonly causes genital herpes, although, most are unaware they have it.
HIV/AIDS – Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a type of virus called a retrovirus that changes a cell’s DNA. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrom (AIDS) is an acquired syndrome, or a group of symptoms, that is caused by infection with HIV.
HTLV – The Human T Lymphotropic Virus (type 1 and type 2), or HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 is fairly common in certain areas of the world like Japan, the Caribbean, Africa, parts of South America, eastern Siberia, and the Pacific islands and less common (fewer than 1% of the population infected) in other parts of the world.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV – Genital Warts) – The Guttmacher Institute reports that nearly 3 out of every 4 Americans between the ages of 15 and 49 have been infected with HPV at some point in their lives, and some studies show that at least 1/3 of all sexually active young adults have genital HPV infections.
Intestinal Parasites – Millions of Americans have intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites are microscopic, one-cell animals called protozoa which infect the intestines.
Molluscum Contagiosum – Molluscum contagiosum is a relatively common viral infection of the skin. Though most common in children, molluscum contagiosum can affect adults as well — particularly those with weakened immune systems. In adults, molluscum contagiosum involving the genitals is considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Mononucleosis (‘Mono’) – Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)and is a member of the herpes virus family and one of the most common human viruses. The virus occurs worldwide, and most people become infected with EBV sometime during their lives. In the US, as many as 95 percent of adults between 35 and 40 years of age have been infected.
Mycoplasma Genitalium – Mycoplasma genitalium is often associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV) in women, and is a common cause of non-gonococcal urethritis in men.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a serious bacterial infection of the female reproductive organs. Men cannot develop PID, and it is not contagious.
Pubic Lice (‘Crabs’) – Pubic lice are sometimes known as ‘crabs’. The condition is caused by very tiny parasitic mites that settle in the pubic hair and feed on human blood. About 3 million new cases of pubic lice are treated in the US each year, but it is unknown how many people have it at one time.
Scabies – Scabies is a skin condition caused by the scabies mite. The mite burrows under the skin and is so small it can hardly be seen with the naked eye. It belongs to the same family as the spider. Scabies is usually sexually transmitted. However, children often pass it to one another and to adults through everyday contact.
Syphilis – Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria. Even though it is curable, if syphilis isn’t treated, it can cause serious damage to your brain, heart, nervous system, and even lead to death.
Trichomoniasis (‘Trich’) – Infection with the Trichomonas parasite is one of the most common STDs and mainly affects women 16 to 35 years of age. In the US, it is estimated around 8 million people become infected annually.
Vaginitis (Bacterial Vaginosis, Urinary Tract Infections, and Yeast Infections) – Bacterial Vaginosis, Urinary Tract Infections, and Yeast Infections are genital infections which straddle the STD boundaries because they are genital, and sometimes sexually transmitted or exacerbated by sexual activity, but they often can, and do, occur without a person having had any sex at all.
Zika – The Zika virus is primarily transmitted by infected mosquitoes but can also be transmitted sexually through bodily fluids. Zika usually does not cause noticeable signs or symptoms, but it can adversely affect pregnant women and their unborn children.
STD List for Women – Less Common
Chancroid – Chancroid is a bacterial infection that produces genital sores. Chancroid is most common in men with multiple partners.
Donovanosis – Donovanosis or granuloma inguinale is a rare bacterial infection that is spread through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Symptoms include beefy, red ulcers on the genitals, and it is often mistaken for Chancroid or LGV.
Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) – LGV is more common in Central and South America than in North America. Every year, a few hundred cases of LGV are diagnosed in the US. However, the actual number of infections is unknown. LGV is more common in men than women.
Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU) – NGU (NonGonococcal Urethritis) is an infection of the urethra caused by pathogens (germs) other than gonorrhea. NGU is most often caused by chlamydia, a common infection in men and women. The diagnosis of NGU is more commonly made in men than women, primarily due to anatomical differences.
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Was this list helpful or did you find a new STD you didn’t know you could contract? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!