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Bacteria may affect STD infection risk

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The type and amount of bacteria present in a person's genitals may play a role in their risk of receiving a positive STD test, according to new data published recently in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences.

The majority of sexually transmitted diseases are the result of viral infections. However, the new findings suggest that the bacteria present in a person prior to exposure to these viruses may determine whether or not they will become infected. In particular, the researchers pointed out that studies have linked bacterial vaginosis to a higher risk HIV infection.

Dr. David Martin of the University of Louisiana said that these types of findings are changing the ways medical professionals look at a person's chances of receiving a positive STD test. It could help doctors more accurately gauge a patient's risk of becoming infected, which may enable them to deliver more accurate and targeted preventative services.

Still, it may be several years before the knowledge can be used to develop more effective infection-fighting strategies. In the meantime, STD testing may remain one of the most effective methods for slowing the spread of infections.

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