Sunday, 30 April 2017


A lady in her mid twenties has been praying for a husband and a job for a long time. Just when she was about to lose all hope, she got a marriage proposal and a job invite.
At her work place, she was told by the Human Resource Officer, 'your credentials showed that you met the requirements for the job but before we proceed, we will need your HIV status report'. From her prospective husband's church, ‘…in line with our church tradition, we can't wed intending couples without knowing their HIV status’, the pastor told her. Left with no choice, she went for the test. Faster and faster, her heart pounded as she awaited the result.  Her conscience couldn't stop playing tricks to her, reminding her how many times she did it without protection... Out of self-guilt, she began to pray quietly in her mind, ‘Lord, have mercy upon me. Please, I pray you deliver me from HIV disease...’ Before she could say Amen, her result was already out. Fortunately, she was HIV Negative. She got the work, and she got married.
Nine months later, she died of
genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection which she was diagnosed of more than a year before her death. Who do we blame?

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Globally, nations are bent on eradicating the scourge of HIV/AIDS but turns blind eyes to other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
No doubt, HIV/AIDS is a deadly and dreadful disease, but so are other innumerable STDs.

Take as a Case Study, Hepatitis A, B and C are hardly given serious attentions as viruses transmissible by sexual contact, with Hepatitis B being the type most likely to be sexually transmitted. All types of hepatitis are relatively life threatening, with effects on the liver. Hepatitis B and C when not adequately treated can beckon on various forms of cancers of liver with end result being liver transplant.

Another overlooked but dangerous infection is the chancroid. This bacterial STI is spread only through sexual contact, and it causes painful purulent ulcers or open sores in and around the genitals; penis, scrotal sack and the vagina.

The over one hundred types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) or Genital Warts are common among over 50% of sexually active people. When small harmless looking rough lump on the on the feet, hand, or genital region, it can be HPV. When overlooked, some have cancerous tendencies.

Herpes on the other hand is a frequently occurring asymptomatic STD, in the sense that lots of people infected by it do not know. Herpes is characterised by painful sores and blisters on skin parts, the penis, vulva, vagina, anal region etc. Herpes have no known cure; some treatment however can reduce symptoms and possible transmission to someone.
Gonorrhoea is asymptomatic among most women and shows some symptoms among most men. Gonorrhoea can lead to infertility both men and women with symptoms such as pain and urge to urinate often, menstrual pains and irregularities, painful sex, yellow or yellow-green vaginal discharge and vaginal tenderness/swelling. On the part of men, painful and frequent urination characterised by penile pus-like discharge is seen. Before recently when scientists discovered a new strain of gonorrhoea that is resistant to all current antibiotics, the infection was treatable.

Chlamydia is yet another very common STD with no symptom.  When left untreated, Chlamydia may also lead to chronic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease and the risk of ectopic pregnancy in women.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is very common among women and is characterised by itching of the vagina and discharge. BV occurs when there is an overgrowth of certain “bad” bacteria in
the vagina.
Syphilis is spread by contact with open sores (usually during sex).  The mouth, vagina, anus, penis, and scrotum are usually at risk of being infected. If left untreated it can cause serious health problems, including brain and nervous system damage, blood infection and even death.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a non jokey that mercilessly harms the reproductive parts of women. When different bacteria like, the Chlamydia and gonorrhoea move up from the vagina or cervix into the uterus and other reproductive organs, Pelvic Inflammatory disease can occur characterised by feverish chills, nausea/vomiting back and lower abdominal pain, strange vaginal discharge, painful urination, painful sex, long or painful  menstrual periods etc.

Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) often seen in individuals who have had unprotected receptive anal sex, causes genital ulcer and swelling of the genital lymph nodes.

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus that can be spread through sexual and by non-sexual contact. Objects like towels, clothing or sex toys when shared with an infected person, can give a non-carrier the virus.
The list is endless. This is reaffirmed by a fact-sheet filed by World Health organisation (WHO) which stated that daily; over 100 million sexually transmitted Infections excluding HIV/AIDS are spread globally. The death statistics of patients living with STDs excluding HIV/AIDS are also on the constant increase, while those living with AIDS are continuously beat down. In the same fact-sheet, it is revealed that contracting some two kinds of STI like Syphilis and HSV type2 increases the chances of one acquiring HIV by over three fold.

Major birth defects and still-births have also been traced to STI infection among pregnant women numbering over Nine Hundred Thousand each year, and so the ugly trend goes on and on.

The problem is ignorance and carelessness as seen in the case of the woman’s story captured at the beginning of this article. A report by Penguin Atlas of Human Sexual Behaviour reveals that around the world roughly over 240 million people have sex daily, with over 70% of this number going unprotected without condom and not being sure of each other’s health status.
A research survey conducted by KamReports also bared the alarming level of ignorance as regards to knowledge of sexually transmitted infection among youths. Over Two hundred young men and women between the ages of 19 and 35 got answered questionnaires on being tested medically of other STDs aside HIV; only 15% (30 persons) affirmed that they have gone for such diagnosis, while the remaining 85% (270 persons) thought of HIV as the only disease transmissible through sexual contact. Unfortunately, among those 30 persons, twenty confirmed to have tested positive to one form of STD or the other, excluding HIV/AIDS with only one person stating that she has been certified okay after treatment.

The solution is not farfetched. Intending couples, medical doctors, schools, organisations, churches and other relevant authorities demanding medical report, should not consider HIV, genotype, blood group and/or fertility tests as the only needful medical check-ups prerequisite for certification of fitness.

Government, individuals and groups should set up foundations that will cater for and aid people get tested and adequately curable STDs treated or the incurable ones managed.

Excellent personal hygiene is also of great importance. Individuals should endeavour to keep their bodies, clothes, beddings, toilets, room, homes and environment neat, sanitized and sterilized at all times. Eat healthy meal, with fruits and lots of water. Get tested and treat all infections adequately.

For the unmarried, abstinence is very important or the constant and rightful use of condom during sex; “being faithful to a faithful partner notwithstanding”.
Married couples should be VERY faithful to each other.

Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases have excellent ways of quietly getting into the body, growing strong and resistant to medications and then destroying the general functionality of the body. So get tested, get treated and stay off illicit sex.

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