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Vaginal yeasts in the era of “over the counter” antifungals
  1. P P Walker1,
  2. M T Reynolds1,
  3. H R Ashbee2,
  4. C Brown1,
  5. E G V Evans2
  1. 1Department of Genito-urinary Medicine, Sunnybank Wing, Leeds General Infirmary, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK
  2. 2PHLS Mycology Reference Laboratory, University of Leeds
  1. Dr M T Reynoldsm.reynolds{at}


Objective: To establish whether there has been any rise in the prevalence of non-albicans Candida species isolated from vaginal swabs since the introduction of “over the counter” antifungal treatments.

Method: A retrospective review looking at all positive vaginal yeast isolates collected from women attending one genitourinary medicine clinic during the 6 year period from 1993 to 1998 inclusive. All positive vaginal yeast isolates were included, regardless of whether or not the patients were symptomatic. Isolates from HIV positive women were excluded from the analysis.

Result: No increase in non-albicans vaginal yeast isolates was shown during the period studied. The proportion of non-albicans yeasts remained constant at approximately 5% of the total yeasts isolated. The most common non-albicans yeast isolated was C glabrata.

Conclusion: There is no evidence from this study to suggest that the increasing use of “over the counter” antifungal treatment has selected for atypical, possibly inherently azole resistant, strains of vaginal yeasts in HIV seronegative women.

  • vulvovaginal candidiasis
  • non-albicans species
  • antifungal drug resistance

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