Aids Affairs: Tell me about yeast infections

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December 08, 2015

Dear Counsellor,

Please tell me about yeast infections. I get yeast infections very often. Since all women get vaginal infections, do I need to be concerned? One thing I can tell you is that the discharge and odour are worrying and sometimes embarrassing. Sometimes I get intense itching as well. Is vaginal itching caused by yeast infection as well?

Worried Friend

Dear Worried Friend,

While it is true that most women will experience some form of vaginal infection at least once in their lives, it is also true that in the adult female population, a vaginal infection is the most common reason for seeking medical attention.

Women with vaginal infection may have an abnormal discharge, itching, burning, foul odour, pain or irritation whenever they have sexual intercourse or whenever they urinate.

However, many women may have none of these symptoms. The three most common infections of the vagina are candidiasis, or 'yeast infections'; bacterial vaginosis, or 'BV', and trichomoniasis, or 'trich'.

You did not mention if you were diagnosed by a health-care provider, however, it is very important that you are properly diagnosed and that you follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Importantly, do not share your medication.

Remember that all sexually active persons should consider using condoms every time they have sex to prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Remember as well that some sexually transmitted infections have no cure and can cause permanent damage to the reproductive organ.

Dear Counsellor,

I am 18 years old but became sexually active when I was 16. About six months ago, I met an older man who, for the first time, showed me what I thought was real love. I am now pregnant for him, but something terrible has happened to me. I tested positive for hepatitis B. My boyfriend told me that some time ago, he had a girlfriend who died from some kind of liver disease and he is now putting things together. He is thinking that his ex-girlfriend's death may have been caused from hepatitis B. Counsellor, I would like you to publish this letter so that other young girls, and even older women, can see it so that they can be aware of these men who come like sheep in wolf's clothing. I would also like you to tell me a little about hepatitis B.

Young and Distraught

Dear Young and Distraught,

Thank you for your letter. I am very sorry to hear that you are infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Most people who are exposed to or are infected with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, the virus that cause AIDS, will not get tested or tell anyone. Therefore, it is recommended that all sexually active persons take on personal responsibility for protecting themselves by using condoms every time they have sex.

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver and is caused by a virus. This virus is called HBV (hepatitis B virus). HBV attacks liver cells.

Infection with HBV can result in:

• Mild illness

• Chronic (lasting infection)

nLiver damage such as

cirrhosis

• Liver cancer

• Death, due to liver failure.

You can get HBV if you:

• Have unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a person who is infected.

• Share needles with an infected person to inject (shoot) drugs.

• Share personal-care items such as razors, toothbrushes, and nail clippers with an infected person

• Use infected needles to do ear piercing, tattooing, or acupuncture.

Please follow your doctor's instructions carefully and remember that if you use a condom every time you have sex, your chances of getting HIV will be greatly reduced.

For more information on condom use, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections, call the AIDS/STD Helpline at 967-3830, 967-3764 or toll free at 1-888-991-4444.

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