The effect of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on the reproductive health of women, the reasons why women bear a disproportionate percent of STD morbidity and mortality, and the factors contributing to an increased risk for STDs and their complications in women are enumerated. Conclusions and recommendations from the 1997 Institute of Medicine report, The Hidden Epidemic: Confronting Sexually Transmitted Diseases, are categorized and addressed. The categories are education, population groups, and clinical practice. The contributions of midwives to implementing pertinent Institute of Medicine recommendations in basic and continuing education programs, individual practice, and in influencing policy are detailed. Factual information about STDs, risk assessment history, essential STD-related services, and treatment guidelines are provided in tables.