Think Again -World Hepatitis Day is 28th July

World wide on the 28th of July, Hepatitis is brought to the stage. There are various types of hepatitis viruses. Some are sexually transmitted, others are not. They all cause inflammation of the Liver and in some cases, long term problems like Liver cancer.

On the Sexual Wellbeing Network, we want to use this opportunity to remind our community that Hepatitis is still very much around.

The good news is that it is treatable. But the first step is to get tested.English%20poster%20set%2017%2003_Page_09-14180650

Here are some facts for you: 

Informed? Unaware? Viral hepatitis kills 1.5 million people worldwide each year. That’s as many people as HIV/AIDS. Hepatitis: Think Again.

Informed? Unaware? Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer. Liver cancer is the second biggest cancer killer. Hepatitis: Think Again.

Feeling fine? Are you sure? Symptoms of viral hepatitis often go unnoticed. Get tested. Hepatitis: Think Again.

Prevention

Safe? At Risk? Viral hepatitis can be avoided. Know the risks. Hepatitis: Think Again.

Treatment

Treated? Treatable? Viral hepatitis can be treated. Everybody deserves the chance. Hepatitis: Think Again.

Vaccination

Protected? Vulnerable? Viral hepatitis can be prevented. Vaccinate your children. Hepatitis: Think Again.

Protected? Vulnerable? Protect against viral hepatitis. Vaccination works. Hepatitis: Think Again.

Stigma

Accepted? Refused? Stigma kills. Don’t discriminate. Hepatitis: Think again.

Accepted? Refused? Viral hepatitis doesn’t discriminate. Neither should you. Hepatitis: Think again.

 Viral hepatitis can be beaten. Play your part. Hepatitis: Think again,

AND GET TESTED!

Enjoy the official World Hepatitis Video below.

Need more information? Check out the World Hepatitis Alliance site here

 

HIV? Me? No, I am married! (17)

HIV, Black women, Hepatitis“Yes, that’s wise. It will be good if you all get tested and we can arrange
that for you.”

”Meanwhile if someone has a bloodborne virus like HIV, it is good medical
practice to check for other bloodborne viruses like hepatitis as these can
sometimes go together because they can be passed on in similar ways.”

”Hepatitis?’ Nma frowned “Isn’t that a liver problem?”

”Yes it is. It can be…..’

”That’s what grandma had when her eyes were all yellow,” Aka interjected. Nma
nodded.

”Yes, hepatitis can cause jaundice which is what makes the eye appear yellow.
There are different types: You can get hepatitis A from contaminated food, That’s
not a big problem but the ones we worry about are Hepatitis B and C. These can be
acquired by using unsterilised needles, sexual intercourse, using unscreened
blood or blood products…

”I had a blood transfusion after I gave birth to Aka…so I might have this
hepatitis too?” Nma started crying again.

”Hei, dont think like that,” I chided. ”We need to do a blood test to find out
first. No need worrying yourself to death about something you might not have.”

”Mum please take it easy,” Aka pleaded.

”We don’t have to do it immediately if you would rather take some time to think
about it.”

Nma looked blankly ahead.

”Doctor, lets sort out the HIV first and maybe do the hepatitis later,” Aka
said.

”Fine,” I handed her some information leaflets on hepatitis.

”So how do we get rid of mum’s HIV?” she asked.

To be continued. Remember to subscribe by email so you dont miss the rest of the story.

How are you coping with HIV? Do you have Hepatits B or C and would like to encourage others with your story? Please get in touch here

SCOTLAND’S HEPATITIS C PATIENT CONFERENCE

Have you ever been diagnosed with Hepatitis C? Do you want to know more about the condition?

Whether you currently have the virus or have cleared it, this FREE conference is for you.

Wednesday 19 March 2014, at the Tolbooth, Stirling, Scotland.

Free transport arrangements will be made for all who wish to attend.

Please contact Margo Urquhart Project Support Manager -Sexual Health and BBV MCN at margo.urquhart@nhs.net if you are interested.

It promises to be an enlightening day.

A selection of workshop topics include:

A: Demystifying Hepatitis C

B: Living with Hepatitis C: A dietician and Waverley Care Life Coach worker will explain how diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol and other drugs impacts on your health while living with Hepatitis C.
C: Hepatitis C and Families: session on what the implications are on your sexual and reproductive health while living with, and after, Hepatitis C.

D: Peer Support: Hepatitis C Trust will hold a session on the different types of peer support available, how to access it, and how to start your own peer support group.

10 Top Sexual Health Checks to do before the wedding night.

Sexual Wellbeing Network I love weddings, they are so exciting! I always see it as a new beginning for the people involved. It’s an opportunity to celebrate a great life together. It’s a chance to have an amazing adventure with your friend (hopefully you are marrying a friend!)

However before you get to the wedding night, there are 10 sexual health checks you need to do. These are really important and can help to make sexual intimacy a bed of roses for you rather than cause unlimited problems. 1. Forget your past experiences! I cannot emphasise this enough. Whether you’ve had sex in the past or not, this is a new start! It’s time to forget your past and reach out for the future. The past experiences, especially the negative ones, can have the power to destroy the new heaven ahead of you. So it’s really important to forget the past and determine to enjoy the glorious sweetness ahead of you. You may have had nasty experiences like rape in the past. Well it’s time to dust yourself down and determine that that won’t destroy your future. You need to decide that from now on, you are going to have an excellent sexual life. You may have shared sexual intimacy with people who didn’t value you, who were just interested in what was in it for themselves. Forget them! Do not let your past experiences mar the beauty of what is to come. Sexual intimacy can be beautiful and satisfying but the last thing you need is a head and heart full of bad memories. So if you have had nasty experiences in the past, leave them there. Your marriage is a new beginning. It can be difficult to do this and some people may find they require counselling. In this case, get some counselling before you go into marriage. Go and speak to a trained counsellor and get help with facing up to your past experiences. They do not need to have a hold over you anymore. I strongly encourage young people to avoid sexual intimacy till they are married, if possible. I know this message is not for everyone but for those who would listen, it’s really best to avoid unnecessary baggage. The last thing you want is to be making love with your spouse and be thinking ‘he doesn’t quite measure up to Jide or Samson’. Ladies, you don’t want your spouse thinking, ‘she doesn’t quite do it like Elizabeth Taylor or the girl down at the store.’ It’s best you discover each other as you are and go from there. That way, sexual intimacy can be like a treasure chest.You are discovering each other without the added complication of previous experiences.

But if you’ve had previous experiences, then try to put them aside and enjoy what you have before you. A lot of dissatisfaction in marriage stems from current spouses not living up to what one may have experienced in the past. 2. Talk about contraception. This is very important. Many people go into marriage without ever discussing contraception yet somewhere in their mind, they know they are not ready for a baby. I’ve seen couples who were planning to go overseas to further their education. They do not factor in how having a baby at that time can cause problems. There are childcare challenges if you are having to attend lectures or meet thesis deadlines. If you need one year or two to do your Masters programme or whatever it is you want to do, then mutually agree with your partner on what you want to do about childbearing. Perhaps you may agree to use contraception for the next year until you finish your study or set up your business or whatever it is. Then you can be better prepared for the challenges of having a baby. It’s better to be ready than have the baby and find that you are running helter-skelter. You cannot finish your studies, you cannot take care of your baby… You feel frustrated just because you did not stop to plan. If you don’t plan, you have planned to fail!

All contraceptions are reversible apart from sterilization so there is no reason not to choose one if you wish to delay child bearing for a while. And there are a number to choose from. If one doesn’t suit you, go on to another one till you find one that suits.

3. Do a HIV test. HIV is so common among the black population that many organisations and churches that conduct marriages now strongly encourage their members to have a HIV test before the occasion. This is good practice and I strongly encourage it. No one wants to break up your relationship! It’s better to know and get treatment rather than going into a relationship when you are HIV positive, infecting your partner and, worse still, passing the infection onto a new-born baby.

So do a HIV test. Tell your partner ”I’ve done a HIV test and I would like you to do one too, please.” That way, you both know where you stand. If either of you is positive, well, then you know! There is a solution and help out there. So do a HIV test before you get married. Better still, do it before the two of you get intimate. See where you both stand!

While you are at it, why not check for other STDs (sexually transmitted infections) like chlamydia and gonorrhoea. This is especially important if you have engaged in casual sex in the past. It often just requires a cotton wool swab for samples from your vagina or a simple urine sample for men. The good news is that many of these infections can be treated easily with antibiotics.

Untreated chlamydia can lead to miscarriage, constant pelvic pain and even infertility. So do an STD check before sexual intimacy.

4. Check for Hepatitis B and C. These infections are a big threat to our health. They often go hand in hand with HIV and are common in Africans. The African Collaborative Hepatitis Network states that ”Viral hepatitis remains a major global health threat that desperately needs increased public awareness.” You can find out about their work here. It is estimated that 15% of Africans have Hepatitis B compared with 1% of Americans.

It can be transmitted from unscreened blood transfusions, injecting drugs, sexual intercourse and from mother to child during childbirth. Many children who get it from their mothers become chronic carriers of hepatitis and this can cause liver problems such as liver cancer in later life. So this is an important test to do. In most hospitals, the same blood sample is used to test both hepatitis and HIV.

If one partner is positive, the other partner can be vaccinated against hepatitis and this reduces the risk of catching it from each other. There is treatment for Hepatitis C which has a cure rate of about 80%. There is also treatment which can be taken for Hepatitis B and these can slow down the progression of the infection so that it should not cause liver damage.

5. Sort out any outstanding women’s health issues. A very important one is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This barbaric practice which is prevalent in many Black Communities can cause a lot of sexual problems. The amazing work being done by FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development) in stopping this horrible practice is highly laudable. You can read all about FORWARD here. For those who are not familiar with this, some cultures believe that to reduce sexual immorality among women, they need to have certain parts of their genitals cut off usually when the girl child is about eight years old. Unfortunately, there can be immediate complications such as bleeding and infections as these practices are often done in unsanitary conditions. There is often no analgesia or anaesthetic administered during the procedure, causing untold distress to these young girls. But more importantly, terrible scarring around the vagina can follow and lead to difficulty during sexual intercourse and childbirth. In extreme cases, the scarring can completely cover the private parts so that menstrual blood cannot come out.

If you have ever had this procedure, please see a doctor to be examined as some of the damage may be amenable to surgical repair. The FORWARD website gives a lot of information and advice on this condition. On a lighter note, if your period is predictable, you may want to plan ahead and ensure that your wedding night doesn’t find you ‘raining red’. I don’t think the groom will be very pleased!

6. Expect to get involved. Good quality sexual intimacy requires the involvement of both parties! Don’t approach sex with the attitude of ‘what’s in it for me?’ Ladies: don’t just lie in bed while the groom huffs and puffs. Have you ever tried to till concrete? How much more easy to sow on yielding soil. Be involved! Move your hips. Dance with the rhythm. Don’t be shy to say where you would like to be touched. Don’t be afraid to reach and feel – you belong to each other now. You are his Juliet and he is your Romeo. So go for it. Let the bellows blast fully and you will enjoy glorious sexual intimacy.

7. Get some lubricant from any pharmacy. Small detail but could make a whole lot of difference. The excitement of finally being free to explore each other can lead to a rush – yet the best sex is a marathon rather than a sprint. If the lady is still a bit dry when the groom dives in, it can be quite painful for her. You don’t want to start with a painful experience. So lubricate liberally as required. Taking some time to touch each other, kissing, petting and speaking loving words before the actual penetration can ensure that the vagina becomes naturally lubricated. But if this doesn’t happen, the lubricant can come in very handy.

8. Be clean! Cleanliness is very important in sexual intimacy. There is nothing as off-putting as smelly armpits or dirty hair at the time of intercourse. Ladies: especially make sure the area between your legs is shaved – it doesn’t have to be clean shaven but at least let the hairs not be so long that the man doesn’t even know where to put his penis or give you the pleasure you need. Shave and keep clean so that when it’s time, the feast is ready. Shave your armpits, wash your hair. If you use extensions or wear wigs, pack these neatly in a hair net: you wouldn’t want bits to fall off during the act and scare the groom out of his wits thinking he has decapitated you!

Make it a habit to shower before sexual intimacy and this way, every part of your body becomes available for the mutual feast. This applies to men also! Get some nice perfume!

9. Get as fit as you can! Are you overweight? Do you regularly find an excuse not to exercise? Make some changes! Physical fitness greatly enhances sexual enjoyment. What sort of food do you eat? This can affect your energy levels. Try to eat more fruits and vegetables as they are packed full of lovely nutrients that can energise your sex drive. If you take regular medications, speak with your doctor and ensure they do not affect your sex drive. Some medications like anti-depressants and some drugs for treating hypertension can affect your sex drive. Your doctor might be able to switch you to something else so get a medication check.

10. Have fun! Enjoy yourself. Do you know that sex has a lot of health benefits? It reduces blood pressure, de-stresses you, helps you have a good sleep, makes you feel younger, improves your immune system, releases hormones that can counteract anxiety/depression and can foster closeness with your spouse. How cool is that!

So make up your mind to have fun. You can do it, nobody else can create your sexual heaven but you. You have to determine in your heart and mind to make it happen, that you are going to be part of the activity and not just lie there like a log of wood. Be an active participant.

Remember, this is your own love story. You are his Juliet and he is your Romeo. This is your moment, give it all you can. Let it be a beautiful symphony you both can enjoy and that way, sexual intimacy can give amazing joys you could only have dreamt of.

Now you have the 10 top sexual health checks to do, feel free to add yours in the comment section below 😀 Click here to like us on facebook and invite your friends too. Thanks :))

Celebrating the Sexual Wellbeing Network (SWB) community!

We welcome the 1000th member of the SWB community. You are what the blog is about. You make it all worthwhile!
As a way to celebrate, we are featuring the comments of the SWB community on different topics featured on this blog. No one knows it all. Your input helps the whole community learn and expand our understanding.

Sexual Wellbeing Network

Sexual Wellbeing Network

Thank you! Enjoy the comments below and have a fabulous Christmas!

On Female Condoms:
”I think where the emphasis should be placed most should be on the effectiveness of these toys, do they do the job? Are they capable of protecting the woman from unwanted pregnancies, contracting the HIV virus and other STDs, without reducing the fun and intimacy of sex? How much does it affect the users psychologically? Is it acceptable to both man and woman? These questions, to my own understanding, are more important than the looks of the toy, after all, once they are inserted in place, you only feel and never see them until the act is over and done with. If this is the case, I will encourage our women to please heavily arm themselves with it at all times, since prevention is better than cure” – Ilouno

On HIV:
”There is no gainsaying the fact that societal pressures, family disharmony and loss of values contribute a great deal to the pervasiveness and sexual indiscretions, that exposes couples to this most embarrassing scourge of our time, and it takes more than just self control to curb it. The message still remains; ‘Zip up or use condoms’,’one man one woman’, as fidelity and faithfulness to one’s husband, wife or girlfriend remains one sure way of keeping the numbers down.” – Ilouno

”Mma needs to tell her husband about her HIV status because, think about it, how long can she keep the secret? And what if keeping it secret leads to her infecting others in some way – her husband or children? If her husband loves her enough, he’ll stand by her after the initial shock” – Asanwa.

”Fidelity in marriage is so important. Temptations may occur but they must be discussed with one’s spouse to allow for fortification of any lose ends by prayer and increased efforts to meet each others’ needs. This also allows for accountability” – Kay.

”Marriage should involve openness and freedom to broach even the most difficult subjects. She needs to tell him. No one should bear this alone! She may be reluctant because this would bring up the almighty ‘infidelity’ which could lead to accusations and counter accusations or disintegration of the marriage. Nevertheless, knowing the truth sets you free so she needs to broach the subject in a non-confrontational manner” – Nkirum

”I have had the opportunity as an adherence counsellor in the HIV clinic and most times its shocking how we Africans especially perceive HIV. The funniest and most ridiculous I ever heard was that it was just like malaria that would go away after a few medications or perhaps someone from their village was after them (spiritual attack). The challenge is that most people do not take the time to acquire the necessary information on health issues and in this case know for sure their status but would prefer to sit on the fence all in the name that ‘what I don’t know won’t kill me’. That is just clear cut ignorance and foolishness” – Amie.

”Faithfulness, faithfulness, faithfulness! how can you know that your spouse is faithful? O Lord help! Only the regenerated in heart can be faithful. Please good people, if you ever suspect your spouse, call a round table conference!!!” – Joy.

”Being faithful is not enough but it boils down to being faithful to a faithful partner. There is hope for everyone irrespective of the trauma such revelation can bring. Whatever way one gets HIV doesn’t reduce the trauma, suspicions and all that.” – Honey

”This is a very touching story but unfortunately one that repeats itself often. Many of us are in denial. We believe we are too careful to ever be infected. We make sure we are not exposed to all the risk factors and therefore we are fine. The truth is it could befall anyone. We may be able to control all risk factors under our control, but what about the ones that are beyond our control? We may trust our partners but some human beings have dual personalities and can change: only God never changes. Being informed is the best weapon and exhibiting responsible behaviour” – Ubong

On Injecting Drugs:
”We need to equip our youth as little moments of pleasure and experiments can bite one in the bum in years to come” – Kay

On Educating Teenagers:
”Not until my son was taught how to use condoms in a health class, I couldn’t have imagined there was a proper way to do it. Like most Black parents, I was initially upset about the need for a teenager to be exposed to that aspect of life but when I realised he will one day use it, then I felt better he learns to use it the right way from the experts rather than from someone or somewhere else. We need to be better informed to protect ourselves and our loved ones” – Engee.

On Testing for HIV:
”Many Africans believe that what we don’t know will not kill us. He is just trying to hang it on something to avoid the test. I however believe that as more people see the benefit of early detection, they will offer themselves for screening without being asked. Almost all of us were in this same situation before we got some awareness. It is ignorance to say the least, as it is in his interest if he knew better.” – Engee

”Most ignorant people like Dike would not want to know their status forgetting that awareness is the first step towards a solution. I personally believe knowing one’s status is very important!!!” – Bels

”To be honest, if I believe I don’t have HIV and hepatitis, then I will not be willing to have the tests. Taking the tests brings its own high blood pressure. Just waiting for the results can freak you out, even though you know it will be negative. So I would not recommend hastiness in agreeing to take these tests. The human body can be funny – someone can be very healthy till they’re told they have a sickness… then they start actually feeling sick! So in such cases, to know or not to know… that is the question!” – Jetmum

”I think it is important to know your status even if you believe you’re not at risk. The reason why people frown at getting tested might be because they believe only promiscuous people get infected by the virus. Another reason could be the fear of having the virus” – Omorewo

On Challenge to Men on Contraception:
”I totally agree with men asking their partners what contraceptives they intend to use and both parties agreeing on what to use. It takes two to tango and there’s no reason to suggest to the other to take care of her body while you take care of yours. That goes against the essence of marriage/partnership. So please MEN, take on the challenge” – Stef

”A very objective and well thought out challenge to our men. Dear Man, my prayer is that you rise up to the challenge” – Elsie

”I equally challenge women to take control of their bodies and do what they can to protect themselves. After all, abortion or unwanted pregnancies all happen in their bodies… not to talk of diseases! Take charge of your bodies and live life to the fullest.” – Jetmum.

”I feel to an extent it is joint responsibility, but on the whole every human being is responsible for their own body. And so a greater part of the responsibility lies on the woman when it comes to contraception. We have to look after our bodies, women have to consider the fact that they could get pregnant or catch a disease and have to explicitly make sure they are protected from this. It would be nice to think that someone else can take responsibility, but except in the case of children (who have no business engaging in sexual activity anyway) and incapacitated people, the ultimate responsibility of every capable adult lies on themself” – Sisbee.

On Sterilization:
”I am Nigerian who schooled and lived in UK for some years. I have two lovely kids and honestly they are my best gift from God ever. I had a vasectomy five months after our second child. I am very normal, my home run is awesome, my erection and ejaculation is superb and I also know that I can have a reversal if the need arises but truth be told even after the marriage broke down I have no regret, (in the UK cost of reversal is less than £3000 now). I am not keen on remarriage and even if I find love again and remarry, I can adopt a child or two if necessary or do artificial extraction and insemination if I don’t want reversal. Why did I do it? I just didn’t want more than two kids in a wobbling and very rocky marriage and I felt it is ungodly for me to be having more kids under the situation. I prefer action to complaints particularly when I knew she was not willing to have a long lasting contraception procedure so I did and am still happy I did” – Segun

”Call me old fashioned, but I wouldn’t advise my “future” husband to get sterilized. It still feels foreign to me. I’d rather go for something easily reversible, although I am sure easily reversible contraception methods may not be as effective as sterilization and other contraception methods in its family. But it is a risk I’d rather take” – Debbie

”Well, for me, women are at the receiving end always. It should be ‘making’ a decision not ‘settling’ for one. Amina wants to be a good wife, mother, and woman but she is not happy taking this step. What is this man ready to put into this decision? The woman is a soil that is always ready to grow d seed but d man needs to provide d seed. Make a decision that will bring smile on both Amina and her husband. I am not against her decision but there are other ways out. Make the man understand that he can’t eat his cake and still have it” – Kemi

”I am black and have been sterilized. I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant anymore. Everything has remained the same for me and even better as I enjoy sex more. I can’t be bothered about what anyone thinks about my decision as it is my life. I have the number of children I want and that is it for me. Recently a lady lost her life while trying to abort a fifth child. She couldn’t bear to have another. Women have to take the decision if their darling husbands have refused. I believe that more women and men will opt for this procedure as they become more enlightened and better still as they get the assurance that sex life remains intact and in cases like mine even better” – Engee.

”As far as I’m concerned sterilization is better than having to abort another unwanted baby! Sterilization should be promoted and shouted from the rooftops in Africa. Once you’re sure you are done, you shut the gate and get on with life… that’s it! – Jetmum

”I think its all a matter of choice. However, I will not choose sterilization. Other options like IUD are available which many have used including yours truly and can enjoy marital bliss without the awkwardness of always reaching for a condom. As an African woman, permanent sterilization is a no no!. But as I said earlier, it still boils down to one’s choice and beliefs!” – Zuzu.

”Personally I still feel sterilisation (male & female) is a bit extreme. I know other methods might not be as effective but Amina could try Implanon in the meantime while the couple buy time to make a permanent decision” Ofon.

“In my own opinion, I think sterilization is unnecessary. There are many other types of contraceptive that Amina and Baako could choose from which would give them the desired result. It’s obvious that Baako is not happy with the issue of sterilization, then let Amina who thinks there’s nothing wrong with sterilization go for it. After all, woman can be sterilized too!” Yemisi

”My view on male sterilization might be a little bit different. I am an African lady and would never advise my husband get sterilized even though he has said he wouldn’t mind. My reason is this; no one knows the future, I do not pray for a terrible one but things happen. Hence, I would rather go for a reversible contraceptive method” Omorewo

”I think male sterilization (which apparently is a simpler procedure than a hysterectomy and female sterilization) should be promoted more amongst black people. The statistics are clear and in fact in men just don’t want to hear it at all which I think is sad because it is an easy solution to these issues. One school of thought however is this: our society is generally notorious for male promiscuity even among some of the married folk. I may be speaking for some women when I wonder if sterilisation would increase this problem as the risks are reduced” KC

On Withdrawal Method.

”As a black man with a strong Christian background, I still find it difficult to believe we need any form of contraception. I would rather exercise the self control withdrawals. This I know would sound strange to some but I believe its also an option for those who can” – John Bull

”Hmm I’m actually amused by the confidence with which Mr Bull is recommending withdrawal. Sounds like the catch is for men to pride themselves in the ability to control themselves. I think this may work until you are absolutely sure you don’t want more children. People may manage the odd mistake that yields one child but if there are multiples in your genes, please don’t follow Mr Bull oh!!!” – Kayce.

On Abortion:
”Quite shocked at Amina’s abortion number: two already! She must be emotionally affected by that. She would need support. But I’m also surprised people do not consider implant or even injection (for female). I mean it’s stress free and free lol” – Ange E

”It’s sad that though we know abortion is murder, we continue in it and help people to abort children. Let me repeat…ABORTION is MURDER. We have walked so far away from God and His statutes that ‘modernism’ is now the order of the day. No matter how we look at it the guilt of abortion in whatever religion stays with the woman all through her life. Do not have a hand in it, nor propagate it. When those children are murdered in the womb, they scream silently. You may not hear it. But God does” Olive

”Interesting……want to see what their decision was at the end. Abortion……….hmm! Its killing a God-given life so that’s not an option in my opinion” – Pearl.

Your community, Your voice.
Remember you can join the discussion on our facebook page facebook.com/swbforblackladies.

Please take our latest poll if you havent already. Thanks.

Now what comment touched your heart and why??

HIV? Me? No, I’ married! (4)

It was five weeks later when Dike turned up at the surgery. If you haven’t met Dike and his family please meet them  here and here

“Nice to see you again,” I smiled as I ushered him into the consulting room.

“How can I help you?” I asked after we sat down.

“Well, I thought about what you said about HIV and Hepatitis,” he paused. “I would like to do the test, if that’s okay.”

“Yes of course,” I replied, pleased. “May I ask what has influenced your decision to do the test,” I asked as I reached for my tourniquet and sample bottle.

“It’s better to find out, isn’t it? Besides I haven’t been feeling very well for some time.”

“How do you mean?”

“I have a sore throat which won’t go away. I have also been feeling tired all the time even when I have been resting. And I have some lumps in my armpit,” he reached under his arms.

https://adaezeifezulike.wordpress.com/

“I would like to ask you a few questions to further determine your risk and ensure that I do the appropriate test.”

“Okay.’

“Have you ever injected drugs in the past?”

“No! …well, actually just once when I was in the University, years ago. I was messing about with some friends and they convinced me to try out some heroin… that can’t  cause HIV can it?”

Do you know what the early symptoms of HIV or Hepatitis are?

What warning signs would you look out for?

In the UK, 29% of black African heterosexual men living with HIV do not know they have the virus.

Research.. Are you interested in earning some money for a good cause?

Participants are needed for a research project being undertaken on behalf of NHS Grampian concerning the experiences and support needs of those with Hepatitis B.

All participants will receive £30 cash as a thank you.

If you are from the:
1. Asian sub continent or
2. Sub–Saharan Africa or
3. China or
4. Eastern Europe,
And have been diagnosed with hepatitis B (here or abroad) and are living in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or Moray, we would love to speak to you!

All information gathered is completely confidential.

The research is taking place throughout November and December and will take the form of one-to-one informal interviews, held at a time and place to suit you.
An interpreter can be arranged if required.

There is also the option to complete a paper survey if you would prefer.

If you are interested in taking part, or would just like more information, please get in touch with the researchers.
Call any of the research team (Alison, Menekse or Rachel) from Scott Porter Research on 0131 553 1927 or e-mail them at info@scottporter.co.uk

Thank you.

Feb 2014: This research is now closed. Thanks to all those who participated.

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (2)

After Mma left, I sat thinking. It all started coming back to me. It must have been like eighteen months ago or more that Mma and her children had come to register at the surgery having recently moved into the area from Africa.

positive steps

She had told me then that they had come overseas due to her husband’s job. He  worked with one of the oil companies, she said, and he had been posted abroad for four years.

She was a linguist with excellent command of Chinese and German and was hoping to get a job teaching these in one of the academies. A very pleasant woman, I recall thinking.

Her children were aged twenty-two, twenty and seventeen. The first had been due to get married in a few weeks.

Dike came to register almost six weeks after his family came. He had only come because his boss had insisted he needed to be registered with a surgery while in the UK. A complete waste of time, he told me.

He fidgeted while I went through my new patient’s routine. I was used to men feeling that coming to see the doctor was unnecessary.

Blood pressure check. Height check. Weight – a little overweight but nothing that a bit of exercise wouldn’t shift.

“Do you smoke?”

“Just when I am out in the rigs.”

“How many a day?”

“Ten sticks a day.”

“Have you ever considered  stopping?”

“Maybe one day,” he glanced at his wristwatch. “Are we done now?'”

“Almost. I would like to offer you testing for blood borne viruses like HIV,  Hepatitis B and C.”

“Why?” he asked surprised.

Would you have HIV and Hepatitis tests even if you believe you are not at risk??