After working as sexual health nurse at the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate for the last 4 years and formerly as a nurse at Boffa Hospital at the GU clinic. I would like to share some of my thoughts about Sexually Acquired infections....
Let me start with a brief explanation why we have chosen to change the terminology from Sexually Transmitted to Sexually Acquired Infections. Such a change aims to decrease the STIGMA when it comes to sexual health. When we use STI, we are putting the emphasis on a perpetrator who has an infection and is giving it to an innocent victim. placing all the blame on the giver than on the receiver. With Sexually Acquired Infections the onus is on both, both partners are equally responsible for every sexual act. One can acquire an infection if the necessary precautions are not taken such as using condoms consistently and correctly with every sexual act. Using this approach there is no perpetrator or victim but every person has the responsibility for every sexual action taken.
Talking to a person about sex could be challenging especially if the partner/s is/are new. However by sharing your concerns, likes, dislikes and expectations will help you lead a healthier life and perhaps also be a better lover.
Be prepared and informed about sexual health, especially in case of casual/new encounters... and if in a new relationship may I suggest some conversation starters before having sex?
“I had a check up at the GU clinic last week, do you get tested? Getting tested before we have sex along with safer sex practices will help us protect ourselves”
In case of planning a long term relationship its an important thing is that you show that you care. Again some conversation starters:
“I really care about you BUT I really want to make sure that we are both OK, Why don’t we get tested? The tests are free and confidential at the GU clinic.
Agree to stay safe; As we all know life is not always a straight line, therefore it would be best if you reach a compromise at the beginning of a relationship. Some conversation starters:
“We will enjoy sex more if we know that we are safe”
“We should use condoms when we have sex. Sexually Acquired Infections are more common than you think”
Share facts with your partner:
“Many people acquire a Sexually Acquired Infection and do not know”
“If you test early, you can start treatment and avoid long term complications”
“Tests are easy, reliable and available at the GU clinic”
Bringing up the subject of sex could be embarrassing. Remember even your partner could be equally embarrassed as you are. However you to need to overcome all the feelings you experience and talk about sex as a normal part of your life. A radio or TV advert could be an excellent conversation starter.
Be positive. If there is something annoying you about your partner, start by something nice then continue with the things that may be bothering you. If you only address things that you don’t like, you might offend your partner/s and in turn they could become defensive and unwilling to talk. Feeling listened to and respected will enhance your relationship. However it does not mean that you have to do things that you are not prepared or comfortable doing. Talk specific suggestions out and maybe you could agree in doing things which you will both enjoy safely.
Therefore talking about sex does not happen only once but it should be a continuous. Sexual needs and life circumstances may change, therefore communication cannot stop. Being open and honest will help you and your partner/s discover new things about each other and help in enjoying sex even more.
Sex talk could be simply about a new brand of condoms or a particular sex position.
So, that is all from me for today folks,
For free and confidential SAI testing, do call the GU clinic on 21227981 for an appointment.