Should your partner receive treatment?

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Bacteria associated with bacterial vaginosis are found in the normal male genital tract, and their presence could potentially increase the chance of a partner experiencing recurrent bacterial vaginosis after antibiotic treatment. However, a recent review of 7 trials, involving over 1000 people, found that giving antibiotic treatment to the sexual partners of women with bacterial vaginosis did not increase the rate of clinical or symptomatic improvement, and did not decrease the recurrence rate, compared with inactive placebo. While your male partner may be offered treatment, it is not guaranteed to make a difference.

If your partner is female, then it’s important that you both receive treatment. A review in the BMJ journal found that at least one in 4 and probably as many as 1 in 2 lesbians have bacterial vaginosis, and that both partners were affected in 87% of cases. Overall, lesbians were 2.5 times more likely to have BV than heterosexual women.