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Please send your comments: sexually transmitted diseases

I would like to point out an issue that has not been touched here in Bolivia, and I don't know if it has been raised in other countries. I will start with an example. This case is about a woman who worked at my friend's house as a maid. She came in every morning, did the chores and left at around two. She had been working for a month when she told my friend, weeping, that she was sick. My friend took her to a doctor who said: 'She is sick because she is very nasty, so she got an infection'. When the woman was still on treatment, my friend came back home early twice and found a strong sex smell in her bedroom. She blamed her husband. He denied it. Two weeks after, she had the same kind of peculiar smell the maid had. She fired her. My friend went to the doctor, and got THE SAME PILLS. When she asked the doctor about the kind of infection she had, he said 'it is more likely that you have gotten this infection through leaving soap in your genitals than from sexual intercourse'. By that time, my friend realized the first doctor had meant 'promiscuous' when he said 'nasty' and the second doctor had meant 'I don't want to blame your husband' when he said 'it's the soap'.

This is a little example of how doctors don't want to call diseases by their name, because they fear the consequences. In the case of sexually transmitted diseases, I think people, men and women, need to know the bare truth. Otherwise they end up getting infected over and over again because they do not understand the words 'nasty' or 'it's the soap'. And that could happen until they get AIDS, for instance, just because they did not warn themselves that their sexual partner has another partner(s) that they don't know about. So I think one way of making doctors tell the bare truth to their patients is by making laws and policies that protect patients by stating clearly that doctors should give a written notice with a description of the disease, in SIMPLE WORDS, or otherwise they will be punished in some way.

The "Doctors Tell The Truth" movement would have greater effects on STDs accountability than any research being carried out at present. I would like legislators to know that we, the consumers of health services, are in the hands of people who call our diseases by names that are misleading, or words that are just too hard to understand, and we need that to change.

The reason I am asking for comments is that there is a request from Araceli, who is going to Washington soon, about ideas on what to tell the congressmen in there about reproductive health and women.

Thanks for your time, and for reading this. Hope it helps in some way.


aliĝngix's picture

Very helpful

I answered to that ladies post too, though it seems I didn't really get what she was asking. It seems things have been assumed by government and management officials.
I agree with this, and hope the word gets spread. The lid needs to be taken off of this thing.

It reminds me of breast cancer, how no one in America would at say it or even mention in private to their daughters about having it or any family history of having breast cancer. Until one day, the granddaughter of this really rich and upper class society grandmother died because she didn't say she had it. So, she said "enough enough!" and she, out loud, told everyone about the family history of breast cancer, and made it okay to talk about.

jap21's picture

Thanks for reading this

Dear Aligngix:

I just realized you are 18! I thought you were older because your remarks are so mature and well thought. I am proud you have honored me with your friendship, as not many young girls will feel like having an oldie as their friend.

Anyway, I want to thank you for reading this because you will surely spread the word within your friends that this is actually hapenning, and we can prevent this kind of story from taking place again and again.

With fond regards,


Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

Sharo's picture


Hi Jap21,

It is really a topic that needs adressing especially that it has broken the cultural barrier, just like HIV.
In my country Zambia, STDs are talked about more openly and I thank the system, because if you went to the hospital today and were found with the disease, no matter what kind, you are sure of knowing first hand what it is.

In Zambia, no one bits about the bush and gives diseases funny names, even in schools, the pupuils are told what an STI is and how they can prevent aquiring it.

I wish you guys well as you fight for your right to know.
The government should understand that Knowledge is power.

Good Luck,

jap21's picture


Dear Sharon:

I think it is great that you have that level of transparency in your country. One of the reasons why I posted this article is because I do not know of any research that may address this situation. Like you said, knowledge is power and we need to understand that just because it happened to my friend or it did not happen to another person, it doesn't mean the name twisting exists (or not). We need to put this issue in the limelight, so that more studies are carried out to let us all know if there is a difference between what the health care consumers think they receive, and what they are really getting.

It is interesting to realize that many times it is the women themselves who do not want to talk about their STDs, as they do not want to address their responsibility on the issue, neither their sexual partner's liability.

Thanks very much for your note.

Warm regards,


Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

Dear Jackie,
I am so sorry that only today I am posting my comments. Honestly, I read this article only today. Anyway great topic you have addressed. Yes, it's really challenging when people misunderstand the HIV. Here I said misunderstanding because people do not freely talk about it. Even in my country, people hesitated to talk about this.
In my village, Radio shrota club was collapsed into women's saving club. We were the regular listener of radio program but later I tried to arrange people to go to school and teach about HIV aids but they were so embarrasses that they didn't even want to hear the word "HIV." I would also say this as a cultural barrier. Education is a best way to remove this superstition.
Thank you
With Love and regards

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

jap21's picture

Dear Sunita!

We need to keep writing about this topic, as most women are always afraid or shy to talk about it.

Warm regards,


Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

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