Majority of people in Africa and even all over the world have very weird ideas about sexually transmitted infections. Growing up, the thought of sexually transmitted infections always scared me. I remember a class in Grade School where we were taught about HIV/AIDS and we were shown very scary pictures and videos of people living with AIDS. To me, every lesson on how to prevent it sounded like how to acquire it and that TERRIFIED me. I remember visiting the Barbering Shop and I got a cut on my scalp. The funny thing was how I played it cool at the Barber’s but came home crying uncontrollably because I knew I had been infected with the virus. My sister wouldn’t stop laughing at me and nothing nobody said would calm me down because my teacher said I could get it from a cut. Oh LORD! LOL. In fact, S.T.I’s have always been scary which is definitely part of the reason why I am not in a relationship yet as I blogged about here; this post is going to make you realize some of these ‘strange’ ideas myself and other people had about it which I also rectify as we go! Shall we begin?
I think and I have always thought that condoms are not 100% effective because there are people whom despite using a condom during sex get pregnant. If someone is able to get pregnant with a condom on, then how sure am I that I won’t be infected with a sexually transmitted infection as well if I use a condom. That has been a thought and it is still a thought. The only debunking statement to this idea is that condoms are found to be 98% which I think is a VERY good deal. But what happens to the 2%? LOL. Don’t worry, that’s just me! It’s better to use a condom and have a 98% than a 0% chance at prevention right?
This is the fear and the mentality that ALOT of people have in this day and age and it will surprise you to know how many. There is the ‘better’ generation that actually thinks that the HIV medication sustains carriers just for a few years till they die. In other words, despite the medication, they gradually die which is far from truth. These ideas are only fueled by the earlier AIDS campaigns that were made when I was in Grade School as I shared earlier, and those in Ghana may remember the SCARY AIDS song by various celebrities at the time with scary pictures of patients emaciated, having scaly skin, weak and drooling. This makes people find it hard to get past those notions of the disease and realize that HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence anymore. That people are able to live full and happy lives if they stay on medication.
This adds to the stigma with sexually transmitted infections where people feel like infected people are promiscuous. There are people who had S.T.I’s in marriages, first time relationships, date rapes, through oral sex (whether receiving it or giving it). Yes, there are people that get infected with S.T.I’s these ways and not because they are promiscuous.
4. PUNISHMENT FROM GOD
As crazy as this sounds, I hardly believed in crap like this but it was vehemently preached behind pulpits in churches. There are some statements that I still hear today behind certain pulpits that just make me wonder if this entire ‘religiosity’ makes any sense at all. Sometimes, it is worrying to hear some of these statements when obviously people that are addressed horribly in sermons are seated right in front of these priests in the congregation. HIV/AIDS is NOT a punishment from God and CAN NEVER be a punishment from God. Some people were raped, born with it, got it in a marriages etc. IT CAN NOT BE!
5. Don’t get close to HIV+ People
It will surprise you that in this day and age, people will walk away from you when they know you are HIV+. It is such an ignorant way of thinking when these people sit in buses, buy food from food vendors, sit in churches, go to work etc where there are also HIV+ people. I do not have friends who’ve told me about their HIV status to be positive neither have I had an encounter with any but I will be so cool with it. I have had encounters with some of them online since I started blogging but never in person. It will be so cool to have a friend who will definitely have a deeper understanding about HIV/AIDS probably more than I do.
5. Condom is the only way!
You may laugh at me at this point but it’s true. As I mentioned in my earlier point, I don’t trust condoms so if using a condom is the only way to prevention, then there is no way I am having sex with anyone EVER till I get married. I stand by this! However, guys, there are other means of prevention when it comes to infections such as HIV/AIDS; there is a medication called PREP which is taken daily in reduction of the risk of contracting the virus 92%-99%. That sounds impressive! But you know how my mind thinks about these proportions right? What about the 8%-1% risk? Well, as I said, that’s just me. These percentages are indeed impressive!
For me, I believe abstinence is by far the surest way to prevent S.T.I’s which I talked about in my personal journey here but if you cannot abstain, protect yourself because it is always better that way. If you are already infected, just hop on to those amazing medications that will keep you healthy and rocking life! Taking the right medication religiously, will prevent you from infecting others and getting sick so that you can have a FULL and happy life! At least you don’t have much to worry about if you are already infected and on medication. *wink
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