Sex pills fuelling HIV/Aids pandemic

HARARE - HIV/AIDS is a serious public threat which, for the last 40 years, has hit us at the core of our life activities, namely sexual intercourse.

The infection continues to spread whether the sexual intercourse is for recreation or procreation.

Younger women seem to bear the worst of it because, as it is argued, of intergenerational sexual activity.

Many a sociologist offer several reasons why this is so.

But there is certainly no doubt that men are responsible for the spread of HIV infection.

Today, UNAids still says HIV response is not enough and that there is still a lot to be done in response to the spread of HIV/Aids.

Partial success in saving lives in Zimbabwe is giving way to new complacency.

So-called prophets like Walter Magaya, prophetesses and pseudo-scientists together with some of their followers do not make the situation easier.

There is still the urgent need to identify those people living with the virus and to encourage sexually active individuals to know their HIV status.

Self-test kits are now available so that, where necessary, early treatment can be initiated.

Unfortunately, not many people are on any treatment and only less than 50 percent have achieved viral suppression.

There is very slow decline in new HIV infections which tells us that there is still irresponsible sexual behaviour out there in the communities.

Adolescent girls and young women continue to have disproportionally high rates of infection and access to existing services does not meet their demands.

This means the targets set under the 90-90-90 strategy will never be achieved in Zimbabwe.

It is important just to explain what this strategy is all about.

The aim of the strategy as agreed by all UN member states is to diagnose 90 percent of HIV positive people, provide ART for 90 percent of those diagnosed and achieve viral suppression for 90 percent of those treated by 2020.

The year 2020 is just around the corner and Zimbabwe is nowhere near the targets.

Apart from the socio-politico-economic situation in the country, who really is to blame?

I wish to argue that, today, it is men, sex and drugs (aphrodisiacs also called love drugs).

This is indeed a very broad topic.

I shall just briefly concentrate on recreational sex and erectile dysfunction and its treatment to illustrate that men are to blame.

Sexual obsession among men, in other words preoccupation with sexual matters, is being fuelled today, by the availability of pharmaceutical products that have aphrodisiac properties.

In the past, and maybe still today, many sexually active men used the product of mylabris beetle, known locally as “vuka vuka”.

Dried crushed beetle mixed with some herbs is known to cause the user to pass out bloody urine as if they are suffering from bilharzia.

The traditional belief is that a man is really cleansing themselves when in actual fact the blood is coming from the genito-urinary system which is being damaged.

This is in addition to painful erection which many a time requires hospitalisation.

Sex and the use of drugs has been known through human history, encompassing all aspects of sex; desire, performance, pleasure, conception, gestation and diseases.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) which causes a lot of apprehension in men, is one such disease.

It is defined as persistent difficulty and maintaining an erection sufficient to have sex.

The urologist will tell you that the causes are usually medical but can also be psychological.

ED is said to be not uncommon and that men may experience it during time of stress.

However, frequent ED can be a sign of health problems that need treatment with such prescription only drugs like Viagra whose generic name is sildenafil.

When a drug is prescription only, it means that drugs requires caution during its use at home or in the health care facility.

There are things that it may cause that require attention from and of whoever might have prescribed it.

Sildenafil, in terms of what it does in the body, when taken in the correct dose, will cause dilation of blood vessels that supply the male organ resulting in erection.

Depending on the individual, this can happen within 30 minutes.

It usually leaves the body after three hours and fully after five to six hours.

The dilation of the blood vessels does not only occur in the male organ but also in the other organs such as the brain, an organ in the body which requires constant blood, heart and the kidneys.

These are organs, if they are to function efficiently that require their own blood supply apart from working as a body pump and filter.

The common side effects of sildenafil may include warmth; headache and dizziness; runny or stuffy nose and nosebleed; muscle pain and back ache; upset stomach; sleep problems and abnormal vision.

These are effects experienced by men taking the sildenafil prescribed for ED.

On the other hand, for men who are taking the drug for recreational purposes, in addition to the above side effects, they invariably develop psychological dependence which may result in loss of control in seeking sexual gratification.

Prolonged use by such men will result in heart problems such as irregular heartbeat, palpitations etc; incontinence, increase in urinary tract infection and stomach upset including runny tummy. 

Unfortunately, sildenafil, which is a prescription only drug is being sold on the streets of Harare and Bulawayo as Blue Diamond.

Preliminary investigation has found out that the many brands of the drug has been on the street mainly from Zambia and the DRC.

They sell for anything between $6 to $10, depending on the brand.

Something has to be done to curtail the accessibility of such drugs that invariably have a negative effect on HIV/Aids control and prevention in Zimbabwe.

Men in Zimbabwe have an important role to play in this regard.

Comments (1)

How can you blame men for all STiS. This is sucha stupid article written by an ignorant woman. How many men has she spreaded her STIs to

arthur - 8 November 2018

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.