AIDS Affairs : Am I HIVpositive?
At the end of each year I usually do a routine medical examination - blood tests, urine test and so on. I got back the result and my doctor told me I am in good health. Does that mean I am not infected with HIV?
Healthy and Happy
Dear Healthy and Happy,
Doctors do not routinely test for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. You should not assume your blood was tested for HIV. The HIV test is not usually done without the patient's knowledge and consent. If you are concerned, ask your doctor to be a little more specific as to what tests were done.
For some time now I have been having intense vaginal itching. My tummy often bloats and sometimes I have a very sharp pain. I also have a discharge from my vagina, looking more like cottage cheese. I wonder if that could be a sexual disease. I have not been involved sexually with any main man. However, I do occasionally have sex with my pastor. I know he is a clean Christian man. I would not want to give him any disease. Please let me know what is happening to me.
Dear Church Sister:
It is very difficult for me to tell you what is happening to you from just your description. You need to visit a doctor immediately so your condition can be correctly diagnosed and treated. If you are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI), your pastor and any other partners must be treated so the infection can be controlled and re-infection prevented.
You may also want to consider using a condom whenever you have sex. You must take the personal responsibility of protecting yourself. You cannot guarantee your pastor is using condoms and you don't know who else he is having sex with. You have to think seriously about your sexual health, let it be your responsibility to protect it.
I am in a monogamous relationship. Should I consider myself free of sexually transmitted infections, including AIDS?
One Love Lover
Dear One Love Lover,
Even when two people are in a monogamous relationship, neither partner can be 100 per cent certain that the other is faithful. Some people are emotionally loyal to their partners and don't consider an occasional physical sexual encounter as an extramarital affair.
To some people, a fling would not change their self-image, and they would still think of themselves as monogamous. Yet, that occasional affair or that single fling, could have infected the straying partner with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
It is, therefore, important that you and your partner communicate honestly about the nature and degree of fidelity you want from one another. If your relationship has been based on a 'what I don't know won't hurt me' understanding, that premise is no longer true. Even if you both have been faithful, you should still use a condom for intercourse until you have done a complete check for STIs and given a clean bill of health.
Afterwards, a decision not to continue or continue using condoms would be discussed and a decision taken that should protect both party's sexual health. Remember you have a personal responsibility to protect yourself.
For more information on condom use, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections call the AIDS/STD Helpline toll free at 1888-991-4444.