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7.1 Sexually Transmitted Infections

STIs are a health problem in the United States and the world. Patient education is an important part of prevention. Patients need to be educated about how to prevent STIs as well as how to recognize them and when to report symptoms. There is still a stigma surrounding STIs. People who are dealing with STIs should feel comfortable talking to their provider. Providers should know how to communicate effectively, teach prevention, and offer treatment when needed.

7.2 Vaginal Infections and Other Conditions

Bacterial vaginitis and vulvovaginal candidiasis are two common causes of vaginal infections in persons assigned female at birth. Both are easily treated and are not usually spread through sexual contact, although BV can be spread between sex partners assigned female at birth. Neither condition requires screening, but both can cause discomfort and require treatment. Group B streptococcus frequently occurs in the genital and gastrointestinal tracts. Group B strep may also colonize the vagina and not cause any symptoms, but it can cause neonatal complications (Puopolo & Madoff, 2022).

7.3 Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are extremely common and can be uncomfortable for patients. Many people will experience a UTI, especially a lower urinary tract infection, at some point in their lives. Lower UTIs can cause discomfort for patients and can cause complications. If left untreated, they can progress to upper urinary tract infections, which can be serious and may require hospitalization. Interstitial cystitis is rare but can impact a patient’s quality of life, so nurses need to know how to educate these patients to help alleviate symptoms. It is important for patients and nurses to recognize signs and symptoms of UTIs and for nurses to educate patients about how to care for themselves. There are various ways in which patients can prevent UTIs, and nurses should be able to provide this information. Pregnancy can be complicated by urinary tract infections, so these patients need special education about signs and symptoms and treatment of UTIs during pregnancy.


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