AIDS Affairs

by

August 02, 2016

Dear Counsellor,

I am infected with syphilis and I am pregnant. Why is having syphilis a problem during pregnancy?

Jean

Dear Jean,

Syphilis in pregnancy can cause many health problems for the infant, including low birth weight, premature delivery, and even stillbirth.

Every year, the Ministry of Health received many reports of syphilis cases in children who contracted syphilis from their mothers. This is known as congenital syphilis. Sometimes newborns with syphilis may not have signs of the disease.

However, without immediate treatment, the newborn could develop cataracts, deafness or seizures. It is believed that many cases of congenital syphilis go unnoticed until symptoms appear in childhood or adolescence. That is why it is extremely important for you to follow your doctor's instructions so your health and that of your baby can be protected.

Symptoms of gonorrhoea

Dear Counsellor,

I am very concerned that my female partner is accusing me of giving her gonorrhoea and neither I nor my male partner is having symptoms. Will I always know if I am infected with gonorrhoea?

Bisexual

Dear Bisexual,

No, you will not always know that you are infected with gonorrhoea. Some men don't have any symptoms even though they are infected. You must know that an infection with gonorrhoea must be taken seriously because, if left untreated, you may develop many serious and lasting complications.

If your are having sex with more than one partner and not practising safer sex, then you are at risk for not just gonorrhoea but other life-threatening sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Since your female partner is infected with gonorrhoea, you and all other partners must be checked and properly treated.

Remember as well that you cannot always be sure who else your partners are having sex with, therefore you have a personal responsibility to protect yourself by sticking to one partner who you know is faithful or you should use a condom every time you have sex.

Dear Counsellor,

For the past eight months, I have been experiencing a yellowish vaginal discharge whenever it is close to my period. I have been to the doctor and was told the discharge is nothing to worry about. When it comes on, I feel a little uncomfortable. Do you think it is really nothing to worry about?

Kathy

Dear Kathy,

Please appreciate that normal secretions from the vagina may vary from time to time. A mild discharge (as long as there is no real discomfort, pain, itching or foul odour) does not mean that there is an infection. Glands in the cervix and the membranes that line the vagina secretes moisture and mucus, and when dry, it may look yellow.

The amount and consistency of a woman's discharge may vary during her menstrual cycle and may also depend on her personal hormone balance at the time of ovulation.

You should feel free to seek a second opinion if that would give you more assurance. In the meantime, you should use a condom every time you have sex, as this will greatly reduce your chances of becoming infected with sexually transmitted infections including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

For more information on condom use, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, call the AIDS/STD Helpline toll free at 1888-991-4444