31 May 2018
I have bee following this issue with some keen interest. In most of the cheating scandals that H Metro stumbles upon; the parties involved do not seem to be correctly and consistently using condoms as they should; fully knowing that they are a part of a sexual network.
Take for example the many stories where the paternity of a child has come under question and discussion. You actually find parties involved; both the female and males; discussing about how a child may be Party A or Party B’s child. This seems pretty normal. We see and hear of so many cases lately; which points to the fact that people are engaging in unsafe sex even when they do not have one exclusive sexual partner.
Just the other day there was a story in the paper of a married woman and a married man who were engaged in an adulterous affair. What shocked me was that when this came out; the woman in question also admitted to having been in another relationship with yet another man. Alongside all these people; her husband was also at home; obviously having a sexual relationship with her. She was only sorry for the wife of the man she had been caught cheating with; according to media reports. She was not worried about the health implications of this. The woman’s husband also seemed to have held discussions with his wife and had decided to forgive all.
While forgiveness is key in all relationships; again my worry and wonder about all these incidences is how no one is talking about the issue of risk. When parties have sex with three of four different people at a given time; what exactly will they be saying? What will they be thinking? Do Zimbabweans actually know that one can protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections by correctly and consistently using condoms? Have people forgotten that HIV incidence is still high in the country and that one cannot tell someone’s HIV status by looking at their physical appearance?
I joined a discussion on a social media platform the other time, which was mostly dominated by the younger people, the larger percentage of them never been married as yet and there was a hot discussion about safer sex. The bulk of the comments on this thread showed me that not that many people believe in safe sex in our communities. In fact some seem to have some negative perception about using condoms when condoms are actually for the benefit of those who use them.
What I picked from this discussion was that there is a belief that wearing condoms lead to a reduction in the sensation or pleasure one derives in the act. The other school of thought was that with condoms; some people take it to mean they are not being trusted. Yes; some women will actually get offended if someone uses condoms with them as to them; this implies that they are not being trusted. Then there is a group of females who leave everything tot do with safer sex and sexual decisions to the man they are with. Hence; the decision to wear a condom or not and when is the responsibility of the man and not the woman. With most of the men already believing that a condom will spoil their pleasure; your guess is as good as mine whether condoms will be used or not.
Then another interesting angle came through from those who actually know the merits of using the condoms. They said while condoms are critical in the prevention of disease and even preventing pregnancy; they could not be sustained in a long term relationship. They said while condoms could be used the first couple of times a couple would have sex; as soon as they got used to each other and made their relationship a long term one; the condoms become difficult to sustain.
“To be honest once a couple is sleeping together for more than three months; condoms tend to fall of. In fact couples are more worried about preventing pregnancy while HIV and STIs are at the back of their minds,” said one of the young men on the group.
But shall this extend even to those who know they are cheating on their spouses and partners; at times with multiple partners? Do we as Zimbabweans still appreciate that HIV is still a reality and the more one exposes themselves to different partners; the more risk they face?
Do we as Zimbabweans know that HIV is still one of our biggest challenges? Have we forgotten that HIV still exists just because of the advent of antiretroviral therapy, which has seen People living with HIV living longer and healthier lives? Do we know that with HIV; one has to take life-long treatment? Do we imagine this to be easy? Do we know that we cannot tell one’s HIV status by looking at their appearance? Where then does the confidence to sleep with multiple partners whose HIV status one has no idea come from?
Zimbabweans are highly learned and intelligent. So how do people make these careless and irresponsible decisions where even someone who is married to someone can sleep with two or three or even more partners at the same time and not use any form of protection even though in the majority of cases they do not know the status of their partners and even their own? Is it about the condoms? Why do people dislike condoms? Why do people take the risk?
I am keen to hear your thoughts. My email address is [email protected]