Dear Aunt Madeline

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Dear Aunt Madeline
I am a 23-year-old man and I would like to know if circumcision has a negative impact such as erectile difficulties in the long run.

There is no evidence of erectile problems in the long run after male circumcision.
It should be noted that male circumcision is not a new intervention but has been in existence for centuries as shown from literature. For more information on male circumcision you can visit the World Health Organisation clearing house website http://www.malecircumcision.org/.
I believe that you are also keen to be circumcised. You can visit your nearest health facility from where you can be directed to sites which are offering circumcision. At these sites they should be able to discuss your concerns with you.

Dear Aunt Madeline
My husband is a lousy cheat and at one point I even caught him red-handed in our matrimonial home. I’m sick and tired of this marriage. I am pregnant and cannot move out because of my poor background. How can I protect myself and my unborn baby from STIs since my husband refuses to use protection?

You need to protect yourself and your unborn baby from HIV infection. Your “poor background” need not put you at a higher risk. You might need to involve a relative who is respected by your husband with whom you can discuss your concerns and try and convince your husband to use protection during sexual intercourse.
Most women are exposed to infection because of fear of being sent back to their parents’ home.
You can empower yourself by getting training on how to negotiate for safe sex. It may be difficult at the beginning but eventually your man will get the message.
You should approach your nearest health facility. Since you are pregnant, I would encourage you to visit your nearest antenatal clinic where staff will talk to you about prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). This will offer the opportunity for both of you to be counselled and tested on HIV.
I wish you all the best.

Dear Aunt Madeline
I’m concerned about adult entertainment actors and actresses. Aren’t they aware of the monster called HIV? Why aren’t they using protection putting themselves at risk from the incurable disease?
If they are engaging in high-risk sexual behaviour, they might need more education related to how they can protect themselves.

I am impressed at your concern towards this sector. If you know anyone working in this sector whom you could approach to discuss your concerns, you could direct them to organisations like National Aids Council who could help them come up with workplace policies and programme to assist them address their challenges.
This is an organisation which is found in every district in the country, so you could approach your district office and they could assist or direct you to the right office. Thank you for your concern. I am sure that anyone from this sector who reads this section will be able to take action to stop this.

Dear Aunt Madeline
I went for HIV tests two months ago and I’m HIV negative. I am happy because I now know my status. How do I persuade my girlfriend to get tested?

I am impressed that you were bold enough to go for an HIV test. You now need to inform your girlfriend of the usefulness of knowing one’s status before you get married and before one starts a family. You might need to retake the test at the same time with your girlfriend so that you go through the process together and you get to know your HIV status.

Feedback: health@newsday.co.zw

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