Sexual Conditions

More sexual partners, more cancer?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study of older adults found that those who had had more sexual partners were more likely to have developed cancer, but that does not mean there is a causal connection, and there are many ways that sexual behavior can affect cancer risk.

OK, boomer: You’re not the only one who needs testing for hepatitis C

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Recent guidelines for screening for hepatitis C focused on baby boomers because that population had most of the undiagnosed infections, but because new infections are increasing fastest in those 20 to 39, the guidelines have been revised.

Should you use probiotics for your vagina?

Probiotics are being promoted as a way for women to improve vaginal health, but unlike with the gut and digestion, there is almost no evidence for any benefit.

Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise: Should you worry?

The number of sexually transmitted infections reported in the US reached an all-time high last year. Having an STI can raise a person’s risk of getting HIV or having infertility or pregnancy complications, but STIs are preventable and treatable. Knowing the facts about STIs and testing is the first step.

HPV and cancer: The underappreciated connection

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Human papilloma virus (HPV), a common viral infection, has been linked to cancer of the genitals, anus, mouth, and throat, as well as cervical cancer. Yet a survey of US adults found that many people are not aware of this connection.

PrEP prevents HIV — so why aren’t more people taking it?

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily medication taken to prevent HIV infection. While multiple studies show PrEP is effective, relatively few of those who might benefit are taking it. Will a 10-year initiative to reduce rates of HIV and a new formulation of PrEP help?

Talking to your doctor about your LGBTQ+ sex life

Talking about sexuality with a doctor can be uncomfortable. If you identify as LGBTQ+, it’s important to find a doctor who is attuned to the specific needs of the LGBTQ+ community. This can make getting proper care easier.

Vulvar health: Navigating the nether regions

Huma Farid, MD

Contributor

Many women feel uncomfortable talking about health issues or concerns relating to the vulva or vagina. This brief primer on vulvar health can help.

Good news about the HPV vaccine

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The administration of the HPV vaccine has significantly lowered rates of infection among the population it is intended to protect, as well as among those who have not been vaccinated.

Sexually transmitted infections on the rise

Rates of several common sexually transmitted infections have been rising during the past few years. Many people with an STI have no idea they have been infected, so testing is crucial. If someone doesn’t know that they are infected, they can’t get treated. If they don’t get treated and have unprotected sex they will pass these infections to others.