We welcome our first guest columnist to Samoa Sex Talk – Samoa’s own Sexual Safety Guru. They work in the health sector and bring to the discussion, experience in the field of sexual and reproductive health, as well as straight-talking personal insight!
I claim to being a sexual individual with many varied tastes (interpret it how you will but I am empowered haha) and I accept that about myself. I also feel that people need to acknowledge themselves as sexual beings. Knowing this truth can really set one free to be empowered in practicing safe sex.
So if you are like me and you like to eat different types of food, make sure you are safe and the food is safe for consumption, for the long term sustainability of your tasting activities…
There’s a 2013 study that looked at the prevalence of Chlamydia trochamatis in Samoa. Chlamydia is a disease spread by having penetrative sex. According to the study, 36% of the study population had positive chlamydia results. The study population was mainly sexually active females between the ages of 18-29.
The study design was done in such a way that it was “representative” of the whole country across all villages. As such, 1 in 3 women between the ages of 18-29 was highly likely be carrying Chlamydia. At the time the estimated population of women between the ages 18-29 was 15,702. The study had gathered data retrospectively as well and showed that the trend was increasing.
Ok so blah blah numbers and you are probably falling asleep but basically what this study tells us is that heaps of young women in Samoa have Chlamydia if one assumes the study is truly representative of the Samoan population. What this study doesn’t show is, the women younger than 18 (probably a whole other can of worms), and the prevalence of STIs amongst men who are the likely carriers of the disease.
With this in mind one can assume that this study may SEVERELY under represent the actual prevalence of the disease in Samoa.
Suddenly the probability increases and anyone, YES anyone can be infected and if you are a sexually virile individual like myself than the future is bleak.
But fear not! In a world filled with Sexually transmitted diseases I am here to provide some insight on why it’s important and sexy to be practicing sex in a safe manner.
In my own humble (but secretly sexy) opinion, the number one culprit behind the spread of disease is the culprit behind every preventable disease in the world: the Human Condition
Most men and women I have met and counseled with regards to sexual health have given me the following statements:
- “Condoms are too big or too small”
- “I don’t have the symptom anymore so its gone”
- “He/she doesn’t want it because it doesn’t feel nice with a condom”
- “I’m ashamed! The nurses will okegia me and tell me off then tell my village church and my mum”
- “It’s not like NZ (or Americarrrrr, Australiaaaaaaar and freaking Narnia) where no one knows you…everyone knows me here……..”
Allow your sexual safety guru (that’s me if its not clear already) to debunk these myths.
First, what is this “condoms are too small” ridiculousness? I sure have never EVER experienced that little piece of heaven in Samoa so don’t even go there. In fact most honest Johns have admitted that the condoms are sometimes too big for them. But there are varied condom sizes so protect yourself by doing the right thing and glove up. No glove no love. No plastick no Nastick? (Whatever the kids are saying these days.)
Secondly, unfortunately the infection can be asymptomatic in some people (i.e. you don’t have symptoms such as itching, swollen genitalia, genital warts, pus (alou) discharging from the penis or vagina). So you may wander the world spreading the disease while not having any idea of what it is that you are doing. Honestly just nasty.
Thirdly, sex is as much a psychological experience as it is a physical one. The connection between partners is as important as genitalia asthetics or sizing (wow I’m so professional with my words) or physical sensualities. If not, lots of Lube does an amazing job of making things feel better, you just have to use heaps. Condoms and lubes are readily available in bulk at the Ministry of Health, The Communicable Disease Center at the NHS and I saw some in the Marina bathroom (lubes are amazing from there).
Remember use water based lubes not silicon as silicon breaks down condoms. You are all freaking welcome.
Fourthly, Samoa has an AMAZING Communicable disease unit at the National Health Services. This unit is situated away from the rest of the hospital and manned by fully trained and sensitive health professionals. When you undergo testing, ALL identifying information is coded. For example my code is usually Catherine Zeta Jones (or Angelina Jolie or Lady Laura Croft) and it is written like “CatZetJo1996” (yes I am 21 and beautiful) and no one but GOD and those lovely health professionals know who you are. Even the lab people don’t know you.
And no NOT all Samoans are faikakala. Some of us are actually super professional and fabulously non-judgmental.
The clinic has even partnered with some small organizations that look at key populations like Faafafine where the service may not be able to reach.
And OMG it is ALL free, from consultation to testing to treatment.
(I’m sure the only other place where it’s free is in Narnia or Middle Earth where they’ll just quarantine the situation by turning you into an icicle or running you over with water shaped horses.)
Let’s be honest, this disease is one of those things that could easily be eradicated if only people would get on board with using condoms. There are much bigger fish to fry in the medical world then wasting so much money on STI treatment.
So your magical fairy safe sex guru says, ‘Go thee forth and have as much sex as you want with WHOMEVER you want as long as you are using protection and getting regularly tested.’
(Like yours truly who gets tested every 6 weeks for HIV/syphilis and the entire panel of bacterial STI- even though I’m fukisha all the time because no one realizes that beauty that is me).
But just so you know, there are other sexually transmitted diseases that will kill people, like HIV and AIDS. There is a viral STI infection that doesn’t really do that much damage for men but will cause cancer in women. A lot of these bacterial STIs which are left untreated (as again some of them you don’t even know you have them) can cause so much damage and complications in a woman’s reproductive organs that she could end up unable to ever have children, or to having a complicated pregnancy that could lead to death.
And one is highly likely to get these diseases if you have multiple sexual partners and practice unsafe sex.
I’m always accused of being bleak. But if it gets the message across and makes one person reconsider their behaviour even for a moment then bleakness has served its purpose. I may be preventing a woman from becoming barren or stopping someone from contracting HIV or developing cervical cancer. Because though the human condition remains malleable only one thing is certain and that is death. And a death that could have been prevented is a tragic loss to all of us.
Ok enough of that! Flowers and rainbows everyone!
Sexual health is such a massive topic that is all-encompassing of not just the safety aspect of coitus or intercourse but that of sexuality, the basic principles of respect between partners, and what sex means between two individuals. Maybe if we had a comprehensive Sexual Health course in school we could chuck violence against women and children out the window. But that is another story!
Oh and before I go, should you need help please contact 21212 ext 700 and ask for Ms Serafi’s office at the Communicable Disease Centre in Motootua. She is amazing and does fabulous appointments. At her beck and call are some male clinicians for the boys who don’t want the girls to see their infected junk.
Your Fairy Sexual Safety Guru