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Common Sex Bugs and How to Stay Safe

By Felista Wangari

Whoever said sex is a taboo must be mistaken, because here at RCNC we are not ashamed to talk about it.

If anyone was embarrassed by the topic of the day when we talked about sex, they did a pretty good job of hiding it. Sex is good, but perhaps that is a subject for another day. It is the bugs that may come with it that dampen the afterglow, that we talked about. Maybe one day we will talk about the deed, but Doctor Jacinta was with us to explain common sexually transmitted infections (STI).

Who knew alcohol could mess up with your sexual health. As if Mututho laws were not enough, Dr Jacinta threw in a spanner by saying that too much alcohol could expose one to Hepatitis. Good thing is that us guys drink in moderation; but seriously too much drink messes with your liver and exposes you to Hepatitis and if you have unprotected sex, you will transmit it to your partner.

There is nothing as sweet as roast maize after a long day, especially as you wait in hungry anticipation for it to roast in the crackling fire. Now you know – the mahindi choma guy goes to the bush just a few paces away and comes to turn your maize. Too bad the charcoal fire does not get to 200 degrees to kill bacteria. This means that if the guy has Trichonomiasis, the bacteria is passed easily from the guy handling your food, if he is not clean, to you and then to your partner during sex. Just another reason to be paranoid about where you eat.

Very similar to Trichonomiasis is thrush a.k.a candidiasis a.k.a yeast. You know you got it – not the groove but the yeast – when you have this white thick discharge. And no, it is not milk coming down the wrong way and yes it will make sex a pain rather than a pleasure. You can pick the infection not just from your partner but from towels and toilet seats too…eeew! The good thing is that it is very treatable, but take your partner along or else you will have the same problem over and over.

If you have sores down there, it is not because your game was so good that the skin gave in. It could be Herpes simplex, a viral disease that shows through unexplained sores on your genitalia or in your mouth. Similarly, watch out for genital warts. There may be no pain attached to them, but there is no gain in keeping them unchecked either. The best deal is to see the doctor to have them treated.

Guys, if after you do the deed you have this discharge from your member and the pain drives you to hospital at 1000km per hour on foot – you know you got gonorrhoea going on. Men don’t like going to hospital but this is the one disease that won’t beg you to see a doctor, you will rush there yourself without being urged. Now make sure to take your sexual partner along or you’ll be fighting a losing battle i.e. if your partner is not treated, you will keep being re-infected and that is not a nice feeling.

When you hear Gonorrhea, you know Syphillis is close by. Good thing is that Syphillis is not common in Kenya. But if on your travels abroad you pick it up, it could take up to three months before you even realise there is a problem, courtesy of symptoms. It shows like a wound that plays a disappearing and reappearing act every so often. And again you need to have it treated because it can harm babies on their way (pregnant women take note and get tested as soon as you discover you are expectant.)

Kissing and oral sex does not make it any safer as you can get STIs like that too – think hepatitis and throat gonorrhea.

We did not talk about HIV, or the twenty-five other sexually transmitted infections that you expose yourself when you have sex. But I’m sure we all agree that using protection is non-negotiable; that we should remain happy to keep our immunity up and seek treatment together with our partners when things go wrong. And you know things are wrong if you have an abnormal discharge (think amount, colour, smell), sores, warts, itchiness. If it does not seem right, it probably isn’t and you need to have a doctor clarify that.

Be clean and stay safe.

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