I'm infected with herpes and would like to get pregnant. I heard that herpes is very serious and that my baby could be in great danger. Is that true?
While herpes is a serious infection in pregnancy, there are several women who deliver healthy and normal babies. Inform your doctor/health-care provider that you are infected with herpes so that the necessary precautions can be taken at the time of delivery to prevent your baby from becoming infected. You must understand, however, that a mother can pass on the virus to her baby during delivery. The baby can suffer permanent brain damage or die. An infected mother also runs the risk of miscarriage. This is why it is important for you to inform your doctor that you are infected with herpes as soon as you find out.
I saw a painless sore on my vagina a few weeks after having sexual intercourse with my boyfriend of four years. I went to the doctor and was told that I was infected with syphilis. Is that really true? How could I be infected with syphilis after having sex with one partner for four years?
Dear Faithful Partner,
Remember that syphilis is a bacterial infection of the sexual organs and that you get it by having sexual contact that is oral, vaginal, or by having anal sex with someone who is infected. You are a faithful partner because you have been having sex with no one else but your partner. Is your boyfriend having sex with no one else but you?
Remember, it does not matter how many years you have been having sex with your partner. All it takes is one act of unprotected sex and you could be infected with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
It is important for you to take safer sex seriously. Unless you are in a mutually faithful relationship, then you are at risk. You have a personal responsibility for protecting yourself. You should not depend on any one to protect you - not even your boyfriend.
I'm 14 years old. I have had sex only once and that is about three months ago. I'm now having lower abdominal pain and a thick, smelly discharge coming from my vagina. Do you think I could be infected with a sexual disease?
Dear Sweet Teen,
Yes, you can get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) if the person you had sex with was infected. You must see a doctor or visit a health centre right away. Germs that live in body fluids like semen, vaginal secretions, or blood may cause sexually transmitted infections. These germs can enter your body through the vagina, the mouth, the anus, an open sore, or cuts. Some germs like those that cause herpes or genital warts can even infect you through the skin of the genitals or anywhere on the body.
For more information on condom use, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections, call the AIDS/STD Helpline toll free at 1888-991-4444.