Women's Health Portal

 Sexual Health for Women

Last Updated: September 23, 2021
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Training Aid: Women's Health in the Army handout


 Birth Control and Family Planning

Birth control, or contraception, is any method or device used to prevent pregnancy. Some types of contraception work better than others at preventing pregnancy, but many do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which includes human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Women can choose from many different types of birth control - factors to consider include health status, desire to have children now or in the future, and need to prevent STIs. Your doctor can help you decide which type is best for you right now.


 

Resources to help you learn more:

  • Army training for female Soldiers. Servicewomen and their providers receive this information as standardized education about birth control, including long-acting, reversible contraceptive methods.
  • Federal birth control resourcesExternal Link The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Women's Health site provides comparisons of all types of birth control and answers common questions.
  • Condoms - all around best prevention External Link Consistent and correct use of condom prevents unintended pregnancy and reduces the risk for HIV and other STIs. Great resources are provided by this CDC site which includes factsheets on correct use of external and internal condoms, and dental dams.
  • Knowing if you are pregnantExternal Link A missed period is often the first clue that you might be pregnant - but you might suspect sooner. Read more about at home pregnancy tests and blood tests at a doctor's office.


 

Additional Resources for Healthcare Providers:


 

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)​

CDC estimates that 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have an STI. The number may be higher among active duty Soldiers due to their high risk age category and job-related stressors.

Read this article about the problem of STIs among Army SoldiersExternal Link

Sometimes referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), STIs include persons who may appear 'symptom-free' but who are 'carriers' of an infection. STIs can be caused by many types of virus, bacteria, and parasites.

Examples of common STIs that are monitored among Soldiers today include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is also a type of STI. Other examples of STIs include genital herpes and the human papilloman virus (HPV).

See this CDC site for a list of various STIs and factsheets for eachExternal Link

Women often have more serious health problems from STIs than men, including infertility. Click here External Link to learn the facts about STIs specific to women.


 

Additional Resources for Soldiers and Beneficiaries:

  • CDC STI brochuresExternal Link Information on each type of individual STI describes how they are spread, prevention, testing, and treatment.
  • CDC STIs fact sheetsExternal Link Basic information on risks, prevention methods, screening, testing and treatment.
  • CDC STIs during pregnancyExternal Link Information for pregnant women who have an STI.
  • Talk. Test. Treat.External Link Soldiers and beneficiaries can protect themselves by talking to their doctor for screening, testing, treatment, and prevention methods.


 

Additional Resources for Healthcare Providers: