The North West Department of health will this week, 6-10 February 2024 observe the STI/Condom Week which is an initiative that seeks to raise awareness of the importance of practicing safe and protected sex. The campaign encourages people, especially young adults to use condoms and prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spreading of S.T.D’s like H.I.V. AIDS, syphilis, and gonorrhoea.
Reflecting on the Departmental commemorative plans, MEC Madoda Sambatha said it was pivotal to raise awareness about the significance of condoms and educate people on safe sex especially young adolescents and teenagers.
“S.T.D’s are one of the major causes of death in the world. Teen pregnancies and unplanned pregnancies are also a big concern. This week reminds us of the importance of using condoms and practicing safe sex” MEC Sambatha highlighted.
2024 marks almost one hundred and seventy (170) years since rubber condoms were used for the first time. Condoms are one of the few contraceptive methods that provide 98% protection from sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
MEC Sambatha has urged everyone who is sexually active to engage in conversations about safe sexual practices with their partner and to use condoms correctly whenever they have sex to prevent sexually transmitted infections. “Using condoms is a form of self-care and a way to contribute to public health. Everyone has the right to make important decisions about their own sexual health and partners need to engage in open and honest conversations about safer sex practices as this will lead to healthy and enjoyable experiences,” said MEC Sambatha.
An STI is an infection passed from one person to another person through sexual contact. An infection is when a bacteria, virus, or parasite enters and grows in or on your body. STIs are also called sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. Some STIs can be cured and some STIs cannot be cured. For those STIs that cannot be cured, there are medicines to manage the symptoms.
Some most common STDs
• Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).Many people with HPV do not develop any symptoms but can still infect others through sexual contact.
• Chlamydia is a common STD that can cause infection among both men and women. It can cause permanent damage to a womans reproductive system. This can make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant later. Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb).
• Genital herpes is sexually transmitted infection marked by genital pain and sores. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus, the disease can affect both men and women. Pain, itching and small sores appear first. They form ulcers and scabs. After initial infection, genital herpes lies dormant in the body. Symptoms can recur for years.
• Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by infection with the Neisseria gonorrhoea bacterium. N. gonorrhoea infects the mucous membranes of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women, and the urethra in women and men.
• HIV or the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an infection that attacks the body’s immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of the disease. HIV targets the body’s white blood cells, weakening the immune system. This makes it easier to get sick with diseases like tuberculosis, infections and some cancers.
• Syphilis is a preventable and curable bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI). If untreated, it can cause serious health issues. Syphilis in pregnancy may lead to stillbirth, newborn death and babies born with syphilis (congenital syphilis).
“It is important for individuals to go to the clinic for treatment if one suspect any signs and symptoms. Treatment for STIs and provision of condoms is given free of charge at primary healthcare clinics across the province. Most STIs are easily treated and can be cured” Sambatha advised.
Public health facilities throughout the province will continue to educate the public about safe sexual practices and provide voluntary screening for STIs. A provincial event will be convened in the Bojanala District later this month.
Tebogo Lekgethwane Department Spokesperson 0674227763 email@example.com
Khuthala Tshangela MLO MEC Support 0664586915
Issued by the North West Department of Health