Why BV leaves you wide open for STIs

When you have bacterial vaginosis (BV), part of the diagnosis is low numbers of lactobacilli, which act as your natural vaginal protection from invaders such as HIV, herpes and HPV. 

BV sets you up for further infections because it robs your vagina of its natural protection​1​. This loss of protection also happens if you douche regularly.

Why don’t I catch all the STIs or infections I am exposed to?

When a virus, bacteria or fungus is introduced to your vagina, it doesn’t automatically mean you will catch it. Lots of people are exposed to these pathogens but never catch them, in the same way that if a cold is going around, not everyone catches it. Those with low immunity tend to catch it, but others around them may not.

If you have had unprotected sex, you may have come into contact with sexually transmitted infections that you never caught. Your natural, healthy vaginal bacteria fight pathogens with high acidity levels, bacteriocins, and hydrogen peroxide. Biological and chemical weapons.

When this natural protection is low or absent, you may be prone to catching whatever is going around. 


  1. 1.
    Allsworth JE, Peipert JF. Severity of bacterial vaginosis and the risk of sexually transmitted infection. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Published online August 2011:113.e1-113.e6. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2011.02.060

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)