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Vaginal yeast infections

A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that causes a thick white coating in your vulva and vagina. It is also called vaginal candidiasis (kan-dih-DEYE-uh-suhss). Recurring yeast infections (at least four times a year) are a common symptom of HIV in women. In many women, these frequent infections may be the first sign of having HIV.

Yeast infections happen when candida, a fungus that is normally found in the body, grows too much in these areas. It also can happen in your mouth and throat. This is called thrush. Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections include a thick, white discharge, pain during sex, pain when you pass urine, and vaginal burning and soreness. It is usually treated with creams or suppositories, which you can buy in the drug store or get from your doctor. If this treatment doesn't work, other drugs are used to treat the infection. Vaginal yeast infections are common and easily treated in most women, but happen more often and are harder to treat in women with HIV.

Tips to prevent vaginal yeast infections:

  • Don't use feminine products such as douches, perfumed sprays, and powders
  • Wear cotton underpants and pantyhose with a cotton crotch
  • Use pads and not tampons
  • Eat yogurt with live cultures if you're taking antibiotics

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Content last updated: July 01, 2011.

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