Tag Archives: Sexuality

3 000 Condoms Used By Students At Masvingo Poly, Many Reject ‘Smelly Madembare’ Contraceptive

Robert Tapfumaneyi
2 minute read

Students at Masvingo Polytechnic College are using at least 3 000 male condoms per month although some are less inspired by what they find as a pungent smell produced by the freely distributed contraceptive during and after use.

This emerged during a recent tour in Masvingo by the National Aids Council (NAC) and some local journalists.

NAC and partner organisations distribute free condoms to so-called HIV/Aids hotspots, with the tertiary institution identified as one of them.

HIV/Aids hot spots are places seen as having a high sexual activity and hence, more likely to experience high infections.

During a stopover at Masvingo Polytechnic, it emerged that the use of the male condom was very high among the adult learners while the uptake of the female condom remained very low.

Only a mere 100 per month were being withdrawn from the condom dispenser installed by NAC within the school premises.

Students said the condoms which were freely obtainable within the school were of cheap quality with their biggest disadvantage being the “disgusting odour” they produced upon use.

Some said they could easily pick out from a group, any individual who has just had sex using the contraceptive.

The much resented condoms are often referred to as madembare.

…Some students are less inspired by what they find as a pungent smell produced by the freely distributed contraceptive during and after use…

“The best you can do for us is to supply students with flavoured condoms,”said Portia Munhukwa, a peer educator with National Aids Council.

“The situation becomes worse when students decide to go and have sex in between lectures… when you come back, everyone can easily pick out the smell and you will feel embarrassed. They are also too oily.

“On the madembare condoms, let me honest with you, they have a bad smell.”

Apart from the unpleasant smell, Portia said, the condoms have helped bring down cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) with less than 10 new STI cases now being reported per month compared to hundreds in past years.

“When I started working here in 2018, I discovered that the issue of STIs was a bigger issue, and then we started educating the students on how to protect themselves and promoting the use of condoms,” she said.

“Some of the first year female students will be so young and vulnerable and due to peer pressure, end up looking up to older men to supplement their living costs and in the process, giving in to demands for unprotected sex.

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 CHLAMYDIA AND SUB-FERTILITY

Neddy Makonza| Nust-ZW

Thandiwe is a graduate from a prominent University in the country. Her wedding was so extravagant that all girls wished they were in her shoes. Being married to a renowned businessman in the city was her dream and a door to endless opportunities.

Ben, her husband, was so eager to have children and was disappointed when their first pregnancy was ectopic, a complication in which the embryo attaches out of the womb. However, they did not lose hope. They tried again and Thandiwe got another complication. The couple was hopeful that they would have a baby the natural way, hence, they refused the doctor’s advice on trying Assisted Reproductive Therapy(ART).

The sad couple later decided to seek medical counselling from a professional. They sat and held each other’s hands for comfort as Dr Newton looked at them above her spectacles.

Dr Newton gave them an endless list of the possible causes of tubal blockage, ectopic pregnancy and subfertility. She tried by all means to make the couple understand how vast the pathophysiology can be. However, the most common cause especially in Thandiwe’s age group and background was PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE (PID). It is very common amongst young ladies below 25 years and the most common cause are infections especially by Gonorrhea co infected by Chlamydia. The long-term effects of PID affects the reproductive tract leading to subfertility (difficulty in having a child), chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancies in the future.

The couple was reassured and they agreed to try using ART was available at most clinics in the country.

This lead to a discussion of STIs,  in particular Chlamydia. JUST BECAUSE IT DOES NOT SHOW DOESN’T MEAN ITS NOT THERE.

The scariest thing about Chlamydia in particular as an STI is that most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms (about 75% women and 50 % men).

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia infections are extremely common affecting both females and males.

You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia even if the male partner does not ejaculate. It can also be passed on to baby from an infected mother at childbirth and causes drastic damage to the baby. Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. If you get treated, it does not give you immunity to reinfection.

How can one reduce the risk of getting Chlamydia? The best answer is abstinence thus no risk to all STIs. However, measures can be taken to prevent acquisition and long term complications of the disease. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results; Using latex condoms every time you have sex and getting treatment early can be greatly effective to preserve the reproductive system.

The scariest thing about Chlamydia in particular as an STI is that most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms (about 75% women and 50 % men). If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia is asymptomatic, it can damage your reproductive system.

Symptoms

  • An abnormal vaginal discharge or from the penis
  • A burning sensation when urinating.
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common)

If the infection spreads from the cervix to the fallopian tubes some women still have no signs or symptoms; others have lower abdominal pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, or bleeding between menstrual periods.

Chlamydia can be cured by a dose of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor. Care should however be taken not to abuse these medications as resistance to them can occur. Treatment of all the partners is vital to eliminate the disease completely and also retest to make sure there is no reinfection. Abstinence from sex until treatment is complete prevents further spreading. Having multiple infections increases a woman’s risk of infertility

The most common test to detect chlamydia infection in women involves taking a swab from the cervix during a speculum exam and the swab is tested for chlamydia DNA. The problem with this test is that it does not tell the physician how long the infection has been present or how severe the infection is and whether the woman with the infection has sustained tubal damage. The swab test can also miss an infection that has moved up into the uterus or tubes and is no longer in the cervix.

Blood tests can also be performed to detect the antibodies the body makes when exposed to the Chlamydia bacteria. These blood test are fairly predictive for finding women with tubal damage during laparoscopy. These tests are not so reliable thus ‘PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE’

ART is available but very expensive thus not accessible to everyone. Therefore, it is better to keep your tubes open and prevent infection by abstaining from sex, practicing safe methods of sex, being faithful to one partner and getting treatment early.

CHLAMYDIA CAN BE INVISIBLE BUT THE CONSEQUENCES CAN BE CATASTROPHIC.

 

GENITAL MUTILATION: THE ZIMBABWEAN STORY

by Nyasha Chiuswa | @Nyashawelove. (featured image credit- frontpagemag)

Mothers like to tell their daughters about it and men are secretly fascinated by it. Grandmothers passed on the tradition from generation to generation and thus played their significant role in educating their daughters about sexual preferences, pleasure and methods.

I am referring to the traditional method of elongating a woman’s labia minora or “kudhonza matinji” in shona or  “ukudonsa amalebe” in Ndebele.

This practice is part of the customs of some communities in Zimbabwe and is aimed at initiating young girls into womanhood.

When I was around eight years of age my mother told me that I had to elongate my labia so that I would become a woman. She was not explicit about the purpose this would serve.  She did however tell me that elongating my labia minora would help me keep my husband.

Image credit - Wikipedia
The process of labia stretching involves pulling or weighing down the inner labia, or labia minora, in order to elongate them.The lips can extend to just outside the labia majora or stretch down as far as a woman’s knees when standing upright. Image credit – Wikipedia

My peers and age mates told me they were elongating theirs and that if I didn’t do the same, I would be left behind. “Uchatorerwa murume nesu tinawo matinji!!!” they would say to me on many occasions.

I never did elongate my labia and I have a man and he has not left me. Even more so, I believe it to be unnecessary and all about personal preference.

In fact, I believe that this a form of genital mutilation and many people across the world share my beliefs. According to the United Nations International Children’s Edcation Fund (UNICEF) almost all African countries have rejected the practice. In 19 of the 29 countries in which Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is most prevalent women said that they wanted it to be made illegal.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the intentional altering or injury of the female genital organs for non-medical purposes. In the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt and Somalia at least 80% of girls are cut between the ages of 5 to 14 years.

All across Africa several forms of FGM exist.

In Rwanda for example, there is a practice known as clitoridectomy which involves the partial or total removal of the clitoris. In other countries (such as Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe) infibulation is practiced. This is a more extreme form of genital mutilation involving the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner and outer labia.

There are many short term benefits to elongating a woman’s labia if she is willing, hygienic and fully informed about the risks. Women are able to take control of their sexuality as elongated labia increase sexual arousal and chances of reaching orgasm.

However, I also believe that it is a form of genital mutilation because it changes and alters the shape of the vagina and can cause health problems in the long-term. Some of these problems include yeast infections, bladder and urinary infections, childbirth complications, and other infections.

Besides that though genital mutilation is a cultural practice still esteemed by many societies, it is undeniably a form of gender based violence. Many women who are victims of FGM are forced into it by their relatives and society and this violates their rights to freedom from violence and freedom to life as the procedure sometimes results in death. Besides that some of the genital mutilation rites are conducted in public places with men watching and this violates rights to privacy.

It is a violation of reproductive rights because it is the yardstick through which ultimate womanhood and sexuality is measured.

It is a form of psychological violence as women who have not pulled their labia are labeled sexually uneducated by their peers and by the men in their lives. In some instances this abuse is so severe that a man will divorce his wife for not having pulled labia and his relatives will verbally abuse the woman who does not have them.

More so as it is practiced, it violates the rights of children.  Article 2 of the Convention on the rights of the child says children should be protected from all forms of mental and physical violence and maltreatment. In most instances, FGM violates all those rights and because it is done without the child’s consent it is a form of physical abuse.

Labia are not what keep a man but it is love and character. It would be unjustified to say that the labia of a woman control a man. Men are also decisive and will stay with a woman that they love with or without elongated labia minora.

I would not encourage my sisters, my friends or any other woman to elongate their labia minora. It’s simply unnecessary and is only a representation of a system that ignores the various sexual, physical and emotional rights of women and thus should be made illegal.