Its funny and hard to understand why, with the increase in Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) cases there is rise in sexuality among the adolescent age group. More and more of these people are exposing themselves to danger. Nothing is sweet and good about STIs but why the rise. WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, questions about the rise of sexuality will continue to pop up but that will be an article of the future. Right now i want to help them because the rapid increase scares me. I do not want to just sit and watch, or hear new people being infected. To those already infected well, if its not HIV/AIDS your nearest health center will help you and to those not yet infected and are having sex, good news for you.
I am going to talk about a few common methods of safer sex practice that reduce the risk of not only pregnancies and HIV transmission, but also other STIs such as HPV, Gonorrhea and Syphilis. Contrary to popular understanding though, condom use is not the only method of safer sex practice.
According to the Compact Oxford English Dictionary Safe sex practice is defined as sexual activity engaged in by people who have taken precautions to protect themselves from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS. It is also referred to as safer sex or protected sex. Unsafe or unprotected sex on the other hand, is sexual activity engaged in without taking the necessary precautions needed to prevent disease transmission.
Early initiation of sexual activity among adolescents has been identified as a major risk factor for a number of negative reproductive health outcomes, including early childbearing and associated implications for maternal and child health outcomes, as well as increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. Vaba kulu ni vabakulu, easy boy, easy girl. Time yako izafika to enjoy, usatamangila.
Sexual abstinence: The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines sexual abstinence as self-restraint from indulging oneself in sexual desires. Boys and Girls who abstain muli che mushe keep it up. But futi be careful usazilekelela this method does in theory, reduce the risk of STI transmission but it does not take into account transmission of certain STIs such as HIV/AIDS via alternative routes like bodily fluid exchange and vertical transmission (mother-to-child). It also does not carter for rape victims who might have contracted an STI from a forced, involuntary act.
The use of abstinence-only sex education has therefore been phased out in the schools of developed countries much to the displeasure of most Christian associations who support it’s use fully. Teenagers who receive the abstinence-only sex education and take a virginity pledge, do actually engage in sexual intercourse before marriage and are one third less likely to practice safer sex compared to their other teenage counterparts who receive the conventional sex education. So just because you are abstaining, knowledge is power. Its good to know as much as you can so that just in case you decide to give in to sex, you are able to protect yourself. It is not easy but it is very possible.
Condom use: Before we go deeper into condoms i want you to remember that and understand that they are inconsistent, conclusions about their use and effectiveness cannot be made. Do not get too comfortable with them
To the newbies a condom is a close fitting piece of latex worn over the penile shaft by a man (male condom), or inserted into the vagina by a woman (female condom) during sexual intercourse so as to avoid contact with blood, vaginal fluid, semen, or other bodily contaminants. Condoms are not only used to reduce the risk of STI transmission, but also for pregnancy prevention. Condom use is a barrier methods used in safer sex practice.
Nowadays, with the advancement of science and technology condoms are lined with spermicides which kill sperms. This provides added effectiveness in the prevention of pregnancy in case of a slippage or breakage which have been reported to occur 1.46% and 18.60% of times respectively, during a condom performance study. This however renders condoms not to be a 100% effective in risk reduction of STIs whose pathogens cannot be killed by the spermicides Clearly other studies have also shown how inconsistent condoms are but if you cannot resist the temptation please use a condom or else abstain.
Male circumcision: Now this is new for safer sex but you will know why and yes we still have low levels of male circumcisions in Zambia because were fear of severe pain, fear of loss of sensation and misinformation about the benefits. Male circumcision is a surgical procedure which involves removal of a male’s foreskin from his penis. It has been recently considered to be a method of safer sex practice as recent studies have revealed that it can reduce the rate of transmission of HIV to a male by up to 60%. Now these statistics are proven and i am not dreaming them, In addition to HIV, other studies show that circumcision also significantly reduces the risk of transmission of HPV, a pathogen which is believed to cause cervical cancer in women. Extensive campaigns which support and encourage male circumcision among males of all ages have therefore been implemented in Zambia as a tool in the fight against both HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer. After reading these few benefits am sure you and your partner can make a decision.
Monogamy The term monogamy broadly means having only one sexual relationship with one partner. It is also a method of safer sex practice as it limits the number of sexual partners, which in turn reduces sexual exposure to potentially infected partners. However, this method can only be effective if both partners abide by it and are both free of any STI. Faithfulness is key. Not ubulalelale, ku gonagona bakazi no. Just one ONLY.