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Doctors on Call: Male sexual health

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Today’s column will address various questions that have been received this week.

Regardless of the weekly topic, HIV and Aids and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) questions are frequently asked.

The primary objective of the column is prevention and public health awareness. We live in a time where the HIV and Aids pandemic has claimed far too many lives.

What is the best condom brand to use here in Zimbabwe? Is it Choice, or Contempo, Protector Plus, or some other brand that you would recommend?

This is a great question. The first recommendation is abstinence and/or limiting the number of sexual partners.

If this recommendation is not taken, then the use of protection is always needed to protect you and your partner from the devastating effects of exposure. Is there a specific brand?

The use of any brand will protect you better than without. There is no specific recommendation on brand.

How do you avoid contracting STIs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis A and B?

The major problem with STIs is that they are invisible in most cases. These STIs have latent periods when no symptoms are physically seen. It is common for these conditions to reoccur though.

The complicating factor is that some people are also hosts of the condition, meaning that they never have physical symptoms of the condition. These hosts can still transmit the condition to you. The best recommendation is abstinence and/or limiting the number of sexual partners again.

Is it true that a person can contract STIs through the contact of pubic areas during sexual intercourse? If this is possible, then how can this be avoided?

Yes, not only is it possible, but also very common. Usually it is during times of advanced disease process and during the “active” stage of the condition. It is difficult to be your own “doctor” and diagnose yourself and your partner.

The key to prevention is not getting the condition in the first place. If you are at high risk and have multiple sexual partners, regular testing will provide the best knowledge. Many of the conditions are “treatable”, but not curable.

Is there any added danger in having sexual intercourse with commercial sex workers as opposed to normal women?

Be very wary of commercial sex workers. These statements may be bad for their business.
Unofficially statistics say one out of three people in Zimbabwe have HIV and Aids. This is shocking. That is also not the only STI.

Commercial sex workers need to be looked at like the plague. The plague that sneaks into your car and home. The plague that will be given to your spouse and possibly even your children. These commercial sex workers are at severe high risk of HIV and Aids and STIs.

When an individual knows that they have a STI, does that change their sexual desire? Once you have the diagnosis and think that there is nothing to do. What do you do? Many become irresponsible.

It is very common for a person to become angry and bitter at the situation.

This may cause a person to continue a dysfunctional relationship and seek commercial sex workers since they believe that they have the condition anyway.

The complicating factor is that they may have other STIs and further damage your health.

This is a tough topic to discuss, especially in a public forum. It was selected because it is such a large issue.

The best recommendation is abstinence.
If this is not an option for you, the use of condoms is a necessity.

Regardless of the type of protection, you are still at risk. Any contact to the affected area will spread the disease.

We would like to thank you for your continued questions. This is a reader-directed column that focuses on difficult topics.

Every email will receive a response. The purpose of this column and direct email access is not to provide treatment and diagnosis.

However, this information is not to replace your doctor’s recommendation: it is an educational tool.

Please email oncallaccess@gmail.com with further questions and topics for future columns.

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