Candida (also called candidiasis) is a yeast infection that is not usually sexually transmitted, but the yeast is sometimes passed on through contact between the penis, vagina, anus or mouth. Many people carry the yeast with them without noticing it. In certain conditions, the yeast will grow excessively and cause a number of symptoms. This may happen when your resistance is lowered because you are under stress, are HIV positive, suffer from diabetes, take certain antibiotics or the contraceptive pill, or use a lot of soap to wash the genitals.


In women:

  • More or a different kind of discharge (often thick and white)
  • Burning or redness in the vagina
  • Itching in the vagina
  • Pain when passing urine

In men:

  • Head of the penis is red or scaly
  • Itching in the head of the penis

Candida is easy to treat, but may recur. Partners only need treatment if they have any symptoms.

Safe Sex

Candida often occurs for other reasons, but transmission during sex can be prevented by using a condom for vaginal, anal and oral sex and a dental dam for licking the vagina or anus (rimming). It is best not to have sex during treatment, as this gives your body a chance to heal.