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Changing Sexual Behaviors and Laws- Part II

The-village-studPart 2- Antiguans and Barbudans, and by implication a few other Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries, had somewhat of an alarm bell last month when a young man chose to confess on his dying bed, the number of men he had slept with (90).

It was obvious that this young man was confessing his sins. Perhaps he was seeking to be absolved by God in a last ditch effort to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Although confession is good for the soul, a revelation of this magnitude raises serious public health concerns.

What compounds this otherwise Christian act of wanting to see God’s face are that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), during a man’s life time, he would have slept with an average of five women and a woman with an average of three men. While this may be a surprisingly low fact in the United States, in Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean, for that matter, where men validate themselves in pointing out the village stud (the man who has slept with the most women or has the most children by several different women), it is reasonable to assume that on average, an island man would bed 10 persons over his lifetime.

If this young man had sexual intercourse with 90 men, and each of the men he slept with sleeps with five men and/or women, then this young man alone may have infected indirectly 450 men or women, according to the CDC’ s average rate. But it gets even bleaker. If each of the five men or women that the 90 men who slept with this young man then sleeps with five other men or women, then that young man has infected or at the very least exposed to HIV, just over 2,250 persons.

One of our biggest problems with HIV and AIDS is that we have not been able to see what HIV/AIDS looks like in much of the Caribbean. Due to fear of rejection, and social stigma, persons who are infected continue to refuse to come forward to participate in a public heath educational effort that puts a real face on this disease. This dimension of  education is sadly lacking in Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean, and until we are able to look at, and interact with someone living with AIDS/HIV, hear that person’s story and respond with compassion, our chances of changing our sexual behaviour will be retarded.

Part of the problem also is the fact that young people and some adults tend not to hear or see the warning signs. Most feel that their youthfulness will save them from the life-threatening consequences of reckless sexual indulgences. Many young people refuse to use a condom and would posit that sexual intercourse is more enjoyable live and direct. Others who do not wish to engage in unprotected sex are pressured to do so in response to the need to be loved and affirmed by others. There is a false belief and much guilt that if they do not engage in unprotected sex with their lovers, they do not love them.

Due to the lack of education about sex on a whole, many young men will tell you that they do not want to waste their sperm. They feel that putting on a condom is a futile exercise. For the young women who insist on the use of a condom, I am told that many men would pierce the condom while it is still in its wrapper with a needle, then unwrap it and put it on. Most do this with the intention to burst the condom during intercourse. 

         
Although I am a firm supporter of abstinence, I have often advised young women to carry their own condoms with them if they choose to be involved in sexual intercourse, and to put it on their partners. This is important because the research data show that women are more exposed to and are contracting HIV at a faster rate than men who are not homosexuals, and further, that most men will urinate after sex and wash, hence reducing the chance of being infected. But because a man will ejaculate into a woman, she is more likely to get HIV.  

In our small island states, we fail to practice safe sexual intercourse. We are more fearful of the questions that our wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends will ask if we insist on practicing safe sex. Often many would turn safe sex concerns around to make the person who is demanding it feel that they are engaged in promiscuous activities. It is safer that all practice the principle: “no glove no love.”

Over the years, Antigua and Barbuda, like most of the Caribbean, had to deal with the influx of sex workers, hence the large number of strip clubs, gay and lesbian clubs. Unofficially, we have come full circle into what is called sex tourism. If this practice is continued, the government should ensure that sex workers entering Antigua and Barbuda are required to get a full health check up, and be given a health card. This card must be presented on demand to any John who wishes to engage their services. The card should contain relevant information as to HIV and other STDs status. Clearing sex workers from spreading other communicable diseases is important. But more important, the government should seek to clamp down on sex tourism.

The Ministry of Health and Social Transformation must make a special effort to educate men and women (locals) who engage in sexual acts with those who visit our islands. I am told that some tourists come to our shores for sexual pleasures and would pay as much as US$500 to engage in unprotected/raw (no condom) sex with locals. In these times of economic hardships, many of our young men and women are likely to take the money without thinking of STDs or HIV consequences. These are the not so pleasant aspects of our society that public education should penetrate to save lives.

Dr. ThomasDr. Oswald R. Thomas Dr. Oswald R. Thomas is a Certified and Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist/Psychotherapist with the American Board of Hypnotherapy, the International Association of Counselors and Therapists, and the International Board of Medical and Dental Association. He is founder of the Thomas Center Human Development, Inc. and serves on Bronx Mental Health Committee, served on Community Board #5 in the Bronx, and the Bronx Neighborhood Planning Committee as Chair of the Youth Committee. With a Ph.D. in Psychology, a Master’s in Public Administration, and a Bachelor’s of Professional Studies in Human Services, Dr. Thomas is a counseling therapist/Behaviorist, and Professor at Metropolitan College of New York.  Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

See related stories:

Changing Sexual Behaviors and Laws- Part I

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3 Comments In This Article   

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#3 Flow » 2010-01-22 07:13

at this point we cant say its uneducated people, its just plain ignorance! There are so many commericals and booklets etc that no 1 can say they dont know. Look at the rate of teenage/unmarried pregnancies, often between people who havent known each other for any amount of time. this shows the problem people just dont care if they get a disease and they dont care if they have a child.Nobody cares! and its unfortunate that innocent people get caught in this web
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Flow

Life Savingn Article!

#2 Dr Isaac Newton » 2010-01-22 07:08

Your advise is as solid as it is relevant. This is the kind of professional capital that the government needs to resurrect it out of the valley of hopelessness, public bad faith, and lack of confidence in leadership performance. If the UPP would concentrate on superior performance outcomes over obsesssing itself with unwarrrented internal fights and finger pointing blame, A&B would be far further ahead than it is right now. Your public health remedies will save lives!!
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Dr Isaac Newton

We Wish

#1 Sue » 2010-01-22 07:03

Dr, Thomas you have all the degree in the world, you need to come clean with the people of your country, they are the only ones who reads your articles we here in the USA do also,

All I saying just keep it real, if you are so smart then you should pay the people back their money that you borrwo.
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Sue

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Dr. Oswald R. Thomas

Dr. Oswald R. Thomas Dr. Oswald R. Thomas is a Certified and Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist / Psychotherapist with the American Board of Hypnotherapy, the International Association of Counselors and Therapists, and the International Board of Medical and Dental Association. He is founder of the Thomas Center Human Development, Inc. and serves on Bronx Mental Health Committee, served on Community Board #5 in the Bronx, and the Bronx Neighborhood Planning Committee as Chair of the Youth Committee. With a Ph.D. in Psychology, a Master’s in Public Administration, and a Bachelor’s of Professional Studies in Human Services, Dr. Thomas is a counseling therapist/Behaviorist, and Professor at Metropolitan College of New York.

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