Monday, 8 April 2013

Sleeping with the enemy


Funke is newly married to the love of her life, Dapo. Of course, because they are married, she is having unprotected sex with her husband and is expecting a baby with him.
Dapo, however, has a woman on the side, Susan, and he is having unprotected sex with her because she’s a ‘decent’ lady, and she loves “skin on skin.” Besides, that’s the only person, other than his wife, he’s having sex with; so he tells himself he is safe because it is only these two women and he trusts them.

‘Decent’ Susan has her man, Ikechukwu, who means the world to her and she is also having unprotected sex with him because that is actually the man she intends to marry. She tells herself she is safe because she only has two men — Dapo, a married man, and Ikechukwu, her fiancé.

But Ikechukwu has an outside woman named Chichi, a young, ‘good’ undergrad he is actually considering for marriage, instead of Susan. He is having unprotected sex with Susan because, to him, she is faithful and adores him. Chichi, on the other hand, has no scruples and just has a few friends or lecturers who assist her ‘ministry’ if she has urges when Ikechukwu isn’t around.
Do you get my drift? Who are you sleeping with? How many people are you inadvertently sleeping with? Whose germs are you in contact with on a regular basis without even knowing it? Are you actually blissfully sleeping with the enemy? Recently in the news, one out of four teenage girls in America reportedly has a sexually transmitted disease.

So, let us return to the initial discussion. What are you doing? Are you being naïve, foolish, ignorant or all of the above? What are the different germs you are exposed to? As long as human beings have sex, we remain prone to diseases such as gonorrhoea, syphilis, hepatitis viruses and the topical one at the moment, HIV — the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus.
HIV has often been discussed in relation to Africa, where the epidemic has been extreme. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to less than 10 per cent of the world population, but there are about 33.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Sixty-eight per cent of adults and 90 per cent of children living with HIV are found in Africa South of the Sahara. Almost one in every six of my patients coming for surgery tests positive to HIV!

The point to note is that HIV/AIDS has no street credibility. You cannot be proud to have AIDS. It is not like cancer, which is acceptable in the community and which can even be ascribed to spiritual attack. It is currently not a disease to be proud of, despite the number of high-profile cases in the news. HIV/AIDS is not fashionable and is regardless of how you contracted it. It could be you were infected by your loved one, or via a needle stick injury in a hospital or blood transfusion. It may even be after your very first sexual experience. It does not matter. Nobody truly cares about the history. Besides, how many people are you going to tell? As always, prevention is better than cure.

Hepatitis B, C and D
Hepatitis can be as deadly as HIV/AIDS. In Nigeria, the World Health Organisation estimates that about 19 million people — about 20 per cent of the population — are chronic carriers of Hepatitis B virus. In addition, WHO says about 40 per cent of HBV carriers will eventually die from liver cancer or liver cirrhosis.

“The danger of hepatitis is that many people are unaware that they are carriers and by the time symptoms begin to appear, 95 per cent of the liver has been damaged,” WHO says.
According to WHO, hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by an immune response to the presence of hepatitis virus in the liver cells. More than 350 million people are infected with chronic Hepatitis B and C, which are the most common causes of liver cancer and liver cirrhosis. The virus is transmitted through contact with body fluids, such as unprotected sex with an infected person and sharing of infected needles or other sharp objects that can break the skin. In addition, babies born to an infected mother have a 90-95 per cent chance of contracting HBV during delivery.

People with hepatitis also face stigmatisation when symptoms like jaundice and abdominal swelling begin to show. A university ejected a final year student from campus and warned him to treat himself for one year before sitting for his exams. One company sacked one employee after she developed jaundice. Potential medical students are also not allowed to undergo training in medicine and surgery in the UK if found to have the hepatitis virus.

Gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. The bacteria are found mainly in discharge from the penis and vaginal fluid of infected men and women. Gonorrhoea is easily passed between people through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex; and also through sharing of vibrators or other sex aids that haven’t been washed or covered with a new condom after initial use. It can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby.

Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include an unusual discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when urinating and, in women, bleeding between periods. However, around one in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women don’t experience any symptoms.
There are many more diseases such as chlamydia and syphilis, etc.

Final word of advice
Condoms are the only proven method of protecting you against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. It should be worn before any contact with someone else’s body fluids. If it splits, please visit a genito-urinary medicine or sexual health clinic with your partner and get immediate testing and protection.

The best solution, though, is abstinence. Otherwise, practice effective protection and remain fully faithful to one partner. Ensure your partner is also faithful. Talk openly about this and ensure you are on the same page. A word is enough for the wise.
Lose your heart, but don’t lose your head!
culled from Punch:Author:Biodun Ogungbo