The latest research about STDs and shaving pubic hair shows that women who wax or shave are not at a higher risk of catching an STD like gonorrhea or chlamydia.
The study involved more than 210 women who went to Ohio State University for STD testing. They filled out a questionnaire regarding their grooming and sexual behaviors. Most (98 percent) said they had groomed their private parts and up to 54 percent said they had removed all of their pubic hair at least once a week in the last year or six times in the last month. These type of grooming is known as extreme grooming.
Only 10 percent of these women had tested positive for an STD, and the study concluded that there was no link between “extreme grooming” and catching gonorrhea or chlamydia. OSU researchers said their study used only lab-confirmed STD diagnoses.
Other researches had asked participants if they were ever diagnosed with an STD, but not tested at the time of the study.
Other conducted studies had asked participants if they were ever diagnosed with an STD, but not tested at the time of the study.
According to Jamie Luster, a former Ohio State graduate student in public health and lead author, said this makes it difficult to connect STDs with current grooming habits.
Luster’s study advisor and OSU Associate Professor of Epidemiology Maria Gallo said the research looked at other STD risk factors such as age, race, income and sexual frequency. Gallo said what concerned the latest study’s researchers was that the other studies failed to look at sexual frequency. She said women who had sex with more people were at a higher risk for catching an infection and more likely to groom themselves.
Luster said the findings were not that much of a surprise given that there’s no apparent biological reason to think personal grooming of the private area could increase the chance of catching gonorrhea or chlamydia.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are around 2.86 million new chlamydia cases and 820,000 new gonorrhea cases in teens and young adults every year.
The CDC said people can protect themselves from an STD by staying in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have STD and properly uses latex condoms every time when having sex.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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