AIds Affairs: Bacterial Vaginosis complications


February 09, 2016

Dear Counsellor,

I keep getting repeated episodes of bacterial vaginosis. However, one of my girlfriends told me it is a common infection women get and the best thing to do is to leave it alone. Are there complications associated with bacterial vaginosis?

Concerned Wife

Dear Concerned Wife,

Your friend is partially right in that bacterial vaginosis is a common infection that women get. In fact, bacterial vaginosis is now widely considered to be the most common type of vaginal infection, even more common that yeasts. However, if left untreated, bacterial vaginosis may cause complications. In pregnancy, it has been associated with premature birth and low birth-weight infants. Women with bacterial vaginsois may have increased risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a condition that can require hospitalisation. Complications associated with PID include infertility, pelvic pain, and ectopic (or tubal) pregnancy. You should not leave your infection alone. Be patient, take all your medication as prescribe and ensure that your sex partner is treated. Get tips from your health-care provider on how you may help to prevent recurrence of bacterial vagonisis.

Dear Counsellor,

I have a wife and a young baby in Jamaica and I work on an overseas programme. I have several outside sexual relationships. I rotate my outside relationships so that I will have no obligations to any of these girls. I sometimes use condoms with my girlfriends, but I don't use condoms with my wife. One of my girlfriends is now very sick. I heard she has AIDS. Should I be worried? I am feeling fine, I am not sick. My baby is also healthy. I only had sex with her without the condoms three times.

Concerned Husband

Dear Concerned Husband,

It is possible for a person to become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from a first and only sexual encounter. You had unprotected sex (sex without the condom) with this woman on three occasions, that is enough time for you to become infected with HIV if she is infected. The fact that you are not sick is not enough to say you are not infected with HIV. It is also possible for you to be infected and your baby is healthy. Remember, you cannot tell by looking if someone is infected with HIV. You should seek to get tested as soon as possible. If you continue to have unprotected sex, you are not only putting your life at risk but also your wife and the other persons with whom you have sex. The more sex partner you have, the greater your chances of meeting one partner who is infected with HIV are. You are therefore at risk even when you use a condom every time you have sex, because condoms can break if they are not used properly.

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 1888-991-4444.

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