Women's Health Portal

 Sexual Health for Women

Last Updated: February 26, 2024
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Traini​ng Aid: Women's Health in the Army handout 

Get sexual healthcare answers ​on the Defense Healthcare Agency's (DHA) Deployment Readiness Education for Servicewomen (DRES) app. ClickExternal Link or scan this QR code to use the app: ​

​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:

  • 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 preventionExternal 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)​

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

Examples of common STIs that are monitored among military personnel 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 papilloma virus (HPV). Women often have more serious health problems from STIs than men, including infertility. Click hereExternal Link to learn the facts about STIs specific to women. 

Products regarding STIs in the military:


Additional CDC STI Resources for Service members and Beneficiaries:

Additional CDC Resources for Healthcare Providers:

Sexual Trauma

The term “military sexual trauma" (MST) is used to refer to sexual assault or threatening sexual harassment experienced during military service. 

MST includes any sexual activity during military service in which you are involved against your will or when unable to say no. 

Treatment for any physical or mental health condition related to MST is provided free of charge to Veterans or active Service members, regardless of when the MST occurred.

Learn more at https://w​​​ww.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome/treatment.aspExternal Link