Mycoplasma geni...huh? A new STI comes to town.

Because there totally weren't enough STIs to worry about already. Oh, wait...

Ever heard of Mycoplasma genitalium (or M. genitalium… because that’s so much easier to say)? If not, you’re in good company—even some doctors don’t know about it.

M. genitalium is a tiny bacterium that growing scientific evidence shows is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Considering how little-known it is, M. genitalium is actually pretty common—research in the U.S. and Europe estimates that about 1 in 50 people have an M. genitalium infection.

What does that mean, exactly?

For men, M. genitalium can cause discomfort when urinating. For women, it can cause pelvic pain and unexplained bleeding after sex. New research from Sweden shows that M. genitalium may also be related to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection in the fallopian tubes that can lead to scarring and infertility.

Although M. genitalium is still mostly a mystery, we do know that—like other bacterial STIs—it can be cured with antibiotics. The tricky part is getting the tiny bacterium correctly diagnosed, since there are no commercially available tests for it. So if you were looking for another reason to choose your partners carefully and use condoms, you’re welcome.

Want to learn more?

Select one of the related topics to find more.