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Exposure to STDs and Abortion

Many concerns can come to mind when deciding about abortion. Some women wonder about the overall physical side effects involved, while others might have a more specific health concern. They may worry about how a sexually transmitted disease (STD) could impact a decision about abortion. Why is it important to know if you have an STD before deciding about an abortion? What risks are involved when it comes to STD exposure and abortion?

Many women find it helpful to learn more about abortion before they make a pregnancy decision. Find accurate and reliable information about each of your pregnancy options, including abortion, at Avenue Women’s Center. We provide free options consultations with our expert staff in a nonjudgmental, compassionate, and confidential atmosphere. Call, text, chat, or email us today for your appointment at any of our six Chicagoland locations!

Exposure to STDs

Men and women alike can have trouble talking about the risks, symptoms, and treatments of STDs and STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Maybe you think you might have been exposed to an STD or STI from your current partner or a previous partner. Perhaps you’re experiencing symptoms, but you aren’t completely sure if they are related to an STD or STI. You could also have been exposed and not be aware of it. “STDs don’t always cause symptoms or may only cause mild symptoms, so it is possible to have an infection and not know it.”*

Even just the thought of getting tested is often daunting, and the medical process can be uncomfortable to face. However, STDs and STIs can affect your overall health, and it’s important to learn about your potential exposure—especially if you’re pregnant. Regardless of whether you plan to continue your pregnancy or terminate with an abortion, an STD or STI can play a role in your next steps. Do you think you might be at risk? Why does it matter whether you find out before having an abortion? Should you get tested for an STD or STI before deciding about abortion?

STD Risks and Abortion

Some common STDs and STIs are hepatitis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and the human papillomavirus (HPV). STDs and STIs can be passed through contact with “skin, genitals, mouth, rectum, or body fluids.”* Any sexual contact with another person can cause risk for contracting an STD or STI. Exposure to STDs or STIs can impact your pregnancy, even if you’re considering an abortion. Some risks involved with STDs and STIs during pregnancy include:*

  • Miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus)*

Knowing if you’re at risk of either a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy could eliminate the necessity of an abortion. Additionally, it is important to learn whether you have an STD or STI if a surgical abortion is an option. An infection could spread or worsen with a surgical procedure, causing more serious health concerns as a result.

Left undiagnosed or untreated, an STD or STI could affect more than your pregnancy or your physical health. “Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) often stems from an untreated sexually transmitted infection or other gynecological infection.”* PID can cause risks to your reproductive health going forward, whether you intend to become pregnant in the future after an abortion or not. If you’re sexually active in any way, get fully tested for all STDs and STIs before you decide about abortion.

It can be difficult enough to discuss STD risk, let alone in a pregnancy decision. At Avenue Women’s Center, we understand that challenging and unique concerns can often be part of the decision-making process. We offer each woman a private space to address individual questions and personal concerns about their pregnancy options, including abortion. Our ultrasounds also provide further insight for women considering abortion to better understand how far along your pregnancy is and assess your risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Our staff cares about providing each woman with the accurate, nonjudgmental information she needs to make a pregnancy decision she can feel good about. Learn about more about your abortion options and alternatives with a free appointment today! Contact us for more information!


References:

  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2016, November). Diseases and Related Conditions. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/std/general/default.htm.
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIHD). (2017, January). How do sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections (STDs/STIs) affect pregnancy? Retrieved from: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/stds/conditioninfo/infant.
  • Mayo Clinic. (2018, May). Ectopic Pregnancy. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20372088.
  • Medical News Today. Nordqvis, Christian. (2017, October.) What is pelvic inflammatory disease? Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/177923.php.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (2017, June). How to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Retrieved from: https://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq009.pdf.

Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.

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