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Side view of unrecognizable African American woman in casual dress and protective mask sitting against gray background looking at camera
Side view of unrecognizable African American woman in casual dress and protective mask sitting against gray background looking at camera

#WhispaStory: I have an STD, but I am a virgin!

My name is Ada. You can call me old school, but I promised myself I would remain a virgin until I get married. This is not because I am keeping my virginity for my husband or anything like that. This is because I finally realized it was okay to keep my virginity for me. 

I ALWAYS take care of my private parts by cleaning it thoroughly and I have my bath twice daily. I also use scented wipes to wipe my vagina after I pee. So you can imagine my surprise when I started noticing swelling around my vagina. There were lots of discharge from my vagina and a tingling painful sensation whenever I pee. My vagina was itching me like crazy. My common sense told me that these are all symptoms of a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). Imagine my shock! Like how is it possible?? A virgin having STDs????

Was this spiritual?

My friend said that I might have a spirit husband and that I probably have sex in my dreams. That, it was manifesting as infection in real life. Her theory was funny, but in the back of my mind, I was worried. I really had no clue as to why this was happening. I knew I should go to the hospital but the fear of opening my legs or explaining what was wrong to a stranger was holding me back from seeking treatment.

Like one week later, when the discomfort and itching became unbearable, I decided to respect myself and so I went to the hospital.  As I sat in the reception area waiting to be called, a tight suffocating pressure rose inside my chest. Fear mingled with shame clutched itself around my ankles.

When I walked into Dr. Ezinne’s consulting room, she gave me a soothing smile that did not soothe me and before she could even ask me anything, I blurted out:

“I have a Sexually Transmitted  Disease (STD), but I don’t know how come because I am a virgin.”

How did I have Candida? An STD??

Surprisingly, I could see laughter dancing in the corners of her face at my outburst, but she smiled patiently and asked me why I thought it was a sexually transmitted infection? I told her about my symptoms and how it definitely felt like an STD because some of my sexually active friends have the same disease symptoms once in a while.

She looked at me, her face a picture of understanding as she explained that I was having symptoms that could be caused by a condition called Candidiasis or thrush. She explained that this disease is caused by a fungus called Candida Albicans. These fungi, like many other microorganisms, lives in the mouth, vagina, throat, and even on the skin without causing the person any health problems but in some cases like mine, they can overgrow and then become problematic. 

I didn’t need to have sex to have Candida

Dr. Ezinne asked me about my habits when it comes to cleaning my genitals and she asked if I used scented soaps and douches. I said I used scented soap regularly and she advised me to stop immediately. The oddest question was when she asked me what type of panties I like to wear. Mehn I thought she was being funny until she explained that cotton panties help to absorb moisture unlike panties made of silk, satin, etc. She said wearing normal (not tight-fitting) cotton panties can keep my private area dry which will prevent Candida from overgrowing which happens when the area is too moist and not getting enough air. Also, she explained that the parts to wash are called the vulva and not vagina and that the vagina is the passageway inside my body that leads to the cervix-which she said is the door to the womb. 

She also explained that the vagina cleans itself and so I should also avoid inserting anything to clean it or douching which is when you spray liquid inside your vagina ‘to clean it’. She said that douching can cause me even more problems than my scented wipes have done. Dr. Ezinne also mentioned that although Candida could be transmitted during sex, in many cases even among women who are no longer virgins, it was simply a reproductive tract infection and not related to sexual activity. 

Now I know better! I didn’t have an STD

She explained a lot of things to me and While Dr. Ezinne spoke, I only nodded like a child because I couldn’t find my voice. I was sooo relieved and at the same time, I now felt silly. Kai! So I was not having an STI? My village people did not infect me with an STD in my dreams to put me to shame? I could have hugged her at that moment. I went home still in pain but wiser and full of smiles. She prescribed some medicines which I bought on my way home.

Today, I take good care of my vulva and try to avoid distorting the microorganisms, following all the advice Dr. Ezinne gave me.

Bye, Bye Candida! See you never!

Chat with a doctor on WHISPA today about any sexual and reproductive health concerns. including any Sexually transmitted diseases you think you may have. Our doctors are always here for you!

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