Bacterial Vaginosis

STI Testing and Treatment During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 outbreak, do not go to regularly scheduled testing for HIV or other STIs.

If you have STI symptoms or were exposed to an STI, call your health care provider or use your clinic’s online portal. Your provider may be able to prescribe oral treatment based on your symptoms or exposure without having you visit the clinic in person. If you do not have a health care provider, you can call the NYC Sexual Health Clinic Hotline.


The vagina contains many types of bacteria. Bacterial vaginosis occurs when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted. Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but having new or multiple sex partners can change the balance of bacteria in the vagina.

If left untreated, bacterial vaginosis may increase the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or HIV.

Symptoms

Many people with bacterial vaginosis do not have symptoms. If symptoms occur, they can include:

  • Gray discharge
  • Foul-smelling vaginal odor (especially after sex)
  • Itching or swelling in or around the vagina and
  • Burning during urination

Prevention

Avoid vaginal douching — this may lead to infections, such as bacterial vaginosis. Having new or multiple sex partners likely increases the risk of bacterial vaginosis.

Testing

Your health care providers can test for bacterial vaginosis with a sample of vaginal fluid.

Treatment

Bacterial vaginosis is treated with pills or vaginal gel.

Sex Partners

Bacterial vaginosis is not an STI, so you will not spread the infection to your sex partner(s). However, if a partner experiences any symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, they should see their health care provider.

Bacterial Vaginosis in Pregnancy

Pregnant people who experience symptoms of bacterial vaginosis should be tested as soon as those symptoms appear. Bacterial vaginosis can cause premature birth and infection of the womb after delivery.

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