Health

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, who is her fiancée.

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 her because to him Susan is faithful, and adores him.
Chichi on the other hand, has no serious scruples and has a few friends or lecturers who assist her “ministry” when she has urges and, 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?

In a recent news report, one out of four teenage girls in America 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 main topical one at the moment, HIV: the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus.

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% of the world population. But, around 33.2 million people are living with HIV or AIDS, the last stadium of HIV before death in the area. 68% of adults and 90% of children living with HIV are found in Africa South of the Sahara. Almost one in every 6 of my patients coming for surgery tests positive for the AIDS virus!

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 a 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 the disease. 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 and 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 and AIDS. In Nigeria, WHO estimates that about 19 million people, about 20 percent of the population, are chronic carriers of Hepatitis B virus. In addition, WHO says about 40 percent 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 percent of the liver has been damaged,” It also causes liver cancer.

According to the World Health Organization (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 Hepatitis virus is transmitted through contact with body fluids e.g. 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 to 95 percent chance of contracting HBV during childbirth.

People with hepatitis also face stigmatization 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 of it’s’ staff 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 (STI) caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. It used to be known as “the clap”. The bacteria are found mainly in discharge from the penis and vaginal fluid from infected men and women. Gonorrhoea is easily passed between people through:
• unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex
• sharing vibrators or other sex aids that haven’t been washed or covered with a new condom each time they are used
It can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her 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 1 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 genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic with your partner and get immediate testing and protection.

The best solution 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 wavelength. A word is enough for the wise.
Lose your heart but do not lose your head!

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