In the space of 3 weeks since the first volume of this post, I have made more enemies than psychopathy ever made Hitler. And been seen as the Ghanaian hero who saved the world from a possible Herpes pandemic. I should join Earth’s mightiest heroes- The Avengers.
What will I be called? Herpes-Man or Gono-man? Wheew! The choice is yours! Nevertheless, if you are reading this blog post, I am pretty sure you have read the critically acclaimed RAW IS WAR Vol 1. Give it a thoughtful read.
Top Comments from Raw Is War Vol. 1
I honestly have to emphasize, “RAW IS WAR” isn’t to scare you. Truth be told, you are more likely to die by a plane crash than an STI. Rather, these blog posts are to educate you on the risks involved in the amazing noun – “coitus”.DRC
This here is the final chapter of RAW IS WAR! Let’s finish this in grand style!
Living with It: Itches… Then 15 years after untreated primary infection, your organs begin to bleed out.
A moment of silence to celebrate just how persistent Syphilis has been in surviving all these years. Yet, you have given up after your first business collapsed? I mean, it met King Charles VIII of France in 1494 and still surviving today. Syphilis was likened to the bubonic plague back then.
Unlike in the 15th century where soldiers who had unscrupulous sexcapades with prostitutes in brothels died having ulcers on their genitals that eroded into bones, Syphilis isn’t that of a scare now thanks to advancement in Medicine and most importantly Alexander Flemming in 1928.
Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It is highly contagious and transmitted by skin to skin contact with a syphilitic sore on an infected person.
It is most commonly spread through sexual activity or during pregnancy from a mother to her fetus.
STAGES OF SYPHILIS
- There are four stages of Syphilis and it is most infectious in the first two stages.
- The primary stage which classically presents with a single(usually one but not always) small, round, painless sore(chancre) on the genitals which occurs a few weeks after contracting the infection.
- Then a few months later it breaks out into a diffuse rash which frequently involves the palms of the hands and soles of the feet and could include anywhere (Secondary syphilis)
- In latent syphilis, which can last for years, there are few or no symptoms.
- Tertiary syphilis is the final stage of infection and can take up to 15-20 years to appear. Tertiary syphilis can be life-threatening. Your internal organs begin to bleed out, your brain and spinal cord get fucked up(neurosyphilis)- you lose all motor functions and oh, you can go mentally insane!
Good news: Syphilis is curable with Penicillin.
Condom Protects: No(Not entirely)
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of syphilis only when the infected area or site of potential exposure is protected. However, a syphilis sore outside of the area covered by a latex condom can still allow transmission, so caution should be exercised even when using a condom”- Wikipedia
Abstinence from intimate physical contact with an infected person is effective at reducing the transmission of syphilis. The CDC states, “The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, is to abstain from sexual contact or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.
Living with It: With untreated chronic infection, you could vomit blood, develop a distended fluid-filled abdomen and oh, liver cancer isn’t far off.
Hepatitis B infection is on the rise. Many might have heard of it but aren’t vaccinated against it. Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening disease of the liver which spreads through exposure to infected body fluids. There are several ways of getting Hep B but in the scope of this blog post, you can catch Hepatitis B by having oral, vaginal or anal sex without a condom with someone who has Hepatitis B. The virus can be found in semen, vaginal fluid and saliva.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting and yellowing of eyes(Jaundice) and skin.
The catch: About 90% of infected adults will recover(clear virus) and develop protective antibodies. In a small number usually less than 1%, the infection can take an aggressive course(fulminant hepatitis- rapid liver failure).
A number of persons will become chronic carriers(fail to clear the virus after testing positive twice 6 months apart) and could spread the virus. These lads could go on to develop chronic liver disease and even liver cancer.
Good news: Hepatitis B is the only sexually transmitted disease that has a safe and effective vaccine to protect against infection.
Please get tested and get vaccinated. Make sure your whole family is protected!
There is no cure for chronic Hep B infection. Consult your doctor for specific treatment and some dos and don’ts.
Condom Protects: YES! Wear a condom during oral, vaginal and anal sex. Or get vaccinated and have tantric sex!
Living With It: Irreversibly life-changing.
Prevalence: Your mom I heard, had it at least once
Condom protects?: Theoretically 98% effective but in real life 85% effective.
So technically pregnancy isn’t an STI, but then you definitely can’t make an STI-wishlist without adding this potential life-changing incident.
In my closed circles, I don’t know of anyone with HIV, genital herpes or chlamydia. Maybe a few who have battled gonorrhoea and warts but, close my eyes and I can think of a ton of friends who have dealt with an unwanted pregnancy or had a pregnancy scare.
If you are a woman, you are getting a warm welcome to the ever growing world of single motherhood in Africa. Luck on your side, the guy stays. If he doesn’t, you are fucked. I doubt I am in the best position to tell you just how crazy raising a child alone is in Africa. Not only do single mothers juggle some of the hardest responsibilities in society, but children of single mothers often grow up to have behavioural, academic problems and add to the menacing street child issues.
If you are a nice guy and decide to stay, be ready to work extra hard and cough up a chunk of your paycheck to support the child. If you are a married man, get ready to deal with the perks of raising another child outside the home. Then there is all this psychological battle about the paternity of the child. “But I pulled out!”. The cost of a paternity test in Ghana? Check that out.
Then you have all the legal stuff on child custody, restraining order and so on.
Even if you have enough money to hire a Harvey Spencer-kind-of lawyer, how much a condom cost? Raaah!drc
Then there is abortion. If a woman decides against keeping it, welcome to the most gut-wrenching experience of your life. Legitimate pregnancy has brought even the most hardcore, don’t-give-a-fuck people to their knees. It’s easy to walk around and say, “I will never abort a child” but when shit hits the roof, when it comes time to walk the walk, many people can’t stomach it. Even if they pull off an abortion, they live with the guilt for the rest of their lives.
In the name of sanity, do not fuck around with this!
UNDERESTIMATING STIs IN DATING
When it comes to choosing a lover, the last thing we consider is their STI history or status. Let’s be frank, you are more inclined to know how much cash is stashed in his Barclay’s account, how much of sex appeal he has, or I’ll be damned- what he looks like naked. Surprisingly, STIs never cross our minds. We are more inclined to judge people’s STI status(chances of having an STI) with biased metrics like looks, religion, academic background and personality, among others. If he is religious, there is no he/she can have an STI right? If he is a quiet person, he is most probably a virgin right?
Don’t be fooled! No one walks around with a collar tag, “Hi there, I have herpes, want a bite?” You can’t tell someone has got an infection by looking at them. Many people with STIs have no noticeable symptoms. Just because you can’t see any obvious sores or warts doesn’t mean someone is free of STIs. Pay attention!
Get the balls, ask your potential partners whether they have had STIs in the past, or currently do or have any symptoms they suspect could be an STI. Aren’t satisfied with the feedback? Encourage each other to get tested.
Uncomfortable yes! Trust me it’s worth the discomfort.DRc
TALKING STIs AMONG LOVERS
What happens when you get an STI in a relationship? Do you speak up or stay silent? This is one of the most difficult decisions no one wants to make. Say, you do speak up, you must be most ready to deal with a lot of uncomfortable questions, “Did you cheat?”. Maybe you did but hey, your first impulse will be to put your balls on the line, swear on a stack of Bibles you did not. If you didn’t, how can you explain having an STI without infidelity?
Good question! It’s quite possible to contract an STI in a completely monogamous relationship.
But hold on soldier! If you ever develop symptoms or diagnosed with an STI tell your partner as quickly as possible. It’s incredibly vital yet difficult. Tell everyone you might have infected.
But.. but..DrC what of the consequences? Fine, you risk having a full-blown outrage which could lead to a breakup. If you decide against it, eventually your partner is likely to find out and become extremely mad at you. Win Win here!
Always know, men who don’t inform women about the possibility of an STI may risk the lives of women. That isn’t slightly an exaggeration! Chlamydia and gonorrhoea rarely cause symptoms in women, but if left untreated may progress to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease which could cause infertility and even possibly death.
There have been many recorded cases of women becoming sterile and dying because their lovers were too embarrassed or unconcerned to inform them about infections that could have been cured easily if treated.
Back to the question of STIs and Infidelity, there are 3 possible explanations.
- You cheated! Shut up and confess.
- Besides certain STIs being transmitted exclusively sexually: gonorrhoea, syphilis and genital warts, non-sexual transmission is theoretically possible.
- Your partner could have been infected long ago. People with HIV, herpes and warts may not develop symptoms for years, if ever. It’s quite possible for both parties to become infected in one relationship yet develop no symptom until involved in a subsequent relationship that’s completely monogamous.
- She could be asymptomatic and pass it to you without knowing it. After all, since she doesn’t show symptoms no proof she has it until tested. Men are more likely to develop symptoms when those very women could have been the source of the infections.
PROPER WAY OF WEARING A MALE CONDOM
Finally, if you are sexually active and into rawscapades, get tested regularly.
Have open conversations with your sexual partners about this stuff: “Have you been tested? “Have you had any infections in the past or currently”?
It’s awkward. But yes, it’s always worth it.
JOIN THE PROTECTION ARMY NOW! RAW IS WAR!
Hey if you learnt a lot from this blog post, don’t forget to share. You could be saving a life. Do you have any question or contributions? I will love to hear from you. Raw is war!