My drinking determines my sexual health!

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I went to use one of the hospital bathrooms while on duty and as I opened the door, a voice screamed out ‘Cant someone have some peace here?’
 
I summoned the courage to open the door wider and found a young lady sprawled on the toilet floor obviously too drunk to realise she was in a public toilet and not in her own bedroom.
Poor thing!
With the help of security, she was escorted to her own house.
 
Research show that our young people continue to drink alcohol excesively.
Alcohol excess blurs the lines between responsible behaviour and what is not responsible behaviour. Many young people engage in reckless and risky sexual behaviour under the influence of alcohol.One of the major fall-out of this is the rise in the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and teenage pregnancies.
 
Unplanned and teenage pregnancies can result in disruption to social, mental and academic wellbeing of young people. Sexually transmitted infections (STI) like Chlamydia and HIV are also possible consequences of risky sexual behaviour.
 
All sexually active young children should be encouraged to delay sexual intercourse until they are much older and in committed relationships. But if this advise falls on deaf ears, it is important that contraception is available for young people to use.
 
Barrier type contraceptions like condoms used carefully can prevent transmission of STIs and also prevent pregnancy.
Contraceptions that need to be remembered such as condoms, daily pills or weekly patches can easily be ommited in the heat of passion. As a result, I strongly advocate the use of reversible long acting contraceptions such as the implants or coils for young people.
My book ‘Understanding contraception’ was written to explain the concept of contraception in a way any young person above the age of 14 years can understand.
 understanng contraception214
You can get it by clicking here for your young people as an eBook or to get the hard copy, click here. They will find the illustrations and jokes very engaging while learning about the different contraceptions and how they work.
 
I believe that equiping our young children with information does not make them promiscuous but rather protects them from easily avoidable mistakes.
 

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Adaeze

My phone can diagnose HIV but how do I get the drugs?

HIV, Smart phone, Dongle, Sexual wellbeingA device attached to your phone could soon be used to diagnose HIV in 15 minutes! This exciting new device could help the poorest people across the world to take control of their own health.

Uses only a finger prick of blood.
Cost only $34 to manufacture.
Small enough to fit into one hand
Does not rely on laboratory facilities.

Gets its energy supply from the phone so can be used in remote places

I applaud the makers for their new device called ‘Dongle.

Being able to find out if you have caught something quickly reduces the risk of spreading it to other people.

HIV, Dongle, Sexual wellbeing, HIV test

 

 

So it is an exciting development in the fight against HIV, particularly in African countries where mother to child transmission of HIV (amongst other routes) remains a major concern with over 2 million children infected with HIV while in the womb, during birth, or by being breastfed.

The next step is for the antiretroviral medications (used to treat HIV) to be so readily available in developing countries as well.

Otherwise, what is the point of fast, easy and cheap diagnosis if there isn’t corresponding available and cheap medication to treat those diagnosed with HIV in poor communities?


Dr Adaeze Ifezulike is a Family Physician/GP based in Aberdeen. She is a Finalist at the UK Sexual Health Awards 2015 and for her book ‘Understanding Contraception: A guide for black ladies’ she has been nominated ‘Author of the Year’ at the Women4Africa Awards.

 

Afrocaribbean Health and Wellness Team: Improving health in the black community.

Afrocaribbean Health, HIV, Fountain of love church, Health friendly

The Parliamentary Ethnicity and Health report of 2007 shows that Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups generally have worse health than the overall population. For instance, it reports that there is up to 7 times higher rates of new diagnosis of psychosis among Black Caribbean people than among the White British. Health Survey for England 2004 reports a prevalence of Hypertension of more than 38% in Black Carribean males compared to the general population prevalence of 31%.The prevalence of doctor-diagnosed Diabetes amongst Africans and Caribbean men above 55 years combined is 15% compared to the general population prevalence of 4.3%.HIV prevalence for black Africans in the UK is 37 per 1000 population, compared to 1.5 per 1000 of the rest of the population and people from African communities are more likely to test and be diagnosed later than other groups. These are a few instances of the dismal health statistics available about the afrocaribbean ethnic group.

Why is this the case?

There are many reasons given for this picture. These include distrust and unfamiliarity with the way the health sector works, language barriers, stress related to poverty, immigration issues, unemployment, poor housing amongst other factors. Poverty may mean that many eat unhealthy but cheap food which then adversely affects their health. Stigma from society and media can limit access to health services.

What can be done?

The Afrocaribbean Health and Wellness Team (AHWT) has taken the bull by the horn to try and address these areas of health inequality. This unique group is made up of health professionals, members of the voluntary sector and other people with the following objectives:

  • To raise awareness of health related issues affecting the Afro-Caribbean communities in Scotland.

  • To empower Afro-Caribbeans to make informed choices about their health.

  • To inform Afro- Caribbeans about health support services and agencies available in the community.

To be able to bridge the health inequality, we found it necessary to liaise with Faith group leaders as worship is an integral aspect of the afrocaribbean community. It is the belief of the AHWT that for health interventions to make an impact within any group, strategies must align to the beliefs and practices of that group.AIDS and Mobility Europe recommends that policy, prevention, treatment and care for migrants should include ”targeted, culturally appropriate services and communication with migrant communities.”

 

What we did:

We carried out a health survey at the Fountain of Love church, Aberdeen to ascertain what health issues the members of the Faith group wanted to learn more about. A total of 212 people participated in the survey 59% of whom were females. 88% were members of the church, the rest had been visiting on the day of the survey. 58% of those who participated in the survey were in the 30-40 years age range.

Based on the result of the survey, a health event took place on the 25th of October at the Fountain of Love church hall. Health professionals were invited from within and outside the Afrocaribbean community to educate and inform attendees on different health topics. Topics covered included Mental Health, Cardiovascular Health, Sexual Health, Men’s Health, Getting to know your NHS and Weight Management. Speakers on the day were Dr Matthew Jack, Dr Winifred Eboh, Dr Petrus Elofuke, Dr Adaeze Ifezulike, Dr Fumen Gamba and Mr Katai Kasengele. Good interactive participation was helped by small group workshops on the various topics which were anchored by the speakers and others including Dr Jenny Bryden, Mrs Tabeth Timba-Emmanuel, Mrs Ubong Usua, Mrs Lolade Ogunrinboye and Mrs Yetunde Odebiyi.

 

More than 40 people opted for confidential testing for blood borne viruses like HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C while a further 60 had their blood sugar, Blood pressure, Fat content and Body Mass Index (BMI) measured. The testing booths were manned by Public health staff from the NHS (Penny Gillies and Helen Corrigan) and Roselie Emmanuel.

 The Atmosphere:

Sexual wellbeing network, Adaeze Ifezulike, Roselie Emmanuel, Chris Gbenle, Dupe Omotosho, Katai Kasengele, Jenny Bryden, Ubong Usua,It was fantastic as people felt at home unlike they would in a hospital environment. Their questions were answered. Food was provided by the church and visible participation by church leaders headed by Pastor Dr Chris Gbenle helped to foster trust and engagement with attendees.

The event ended with a ”HEALTH FRIENDLY’ Certificate issued to the church.

Evaluation of event:

Participants were asked to anonymously evaluate the event with a series of questions, some of which are included here:

How could the event be improved? Some answers included ”I would want to hear more about stress management, high blood pressure and mental health”, ”Create more awareness of the programme” and ”Do such programs at least every two months.”

What did you  like best about the event? ”The workshops and the screening”, ”The package was excellent” and ”All the sessions.”

What have you gained as a result of attending this event?

”A lot, I now know my weight, BMI and sugar blood test,” ”Information on weight management,” ”That its not only when you are not feeling well that you should seek advice” and ”Intensive education and awareness about HIV and other illnesses.”

What might you do differently as a result of this event?

”Change my eating and drinking habits”, ”Watch my weight,” ”Monitor my health,” ”Change diet, become more active and less lonely” and ”Eat better.”

90% of the evaluation forms handed back rated the organisation of the event as Excellent or Good.

Members of the Afrocaribbean Health and Wellness team include Dr Winifred Eboh, Dr Matthew Jack, Mrs Ubong Usua, Mrs Lolade Ogunrinboye, Mrs Tabeth Timba-Emmanuel, Mr Katai Kasengele and Dr Adaeze Ifezulike.

If you would like to know more about the afrocaribbean health events and how your organisation can achieve ‘HEALTH FRIENDLY’ status, please contact Dr Adaeze Ifezulike on info@sexualwellbeingnetwork.com

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis

Nma comes to the clinic.

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (26)

HIV, Sexual wellbeing network, Adaeze IfezulikeI saw she was booked in to see me. It was exactly a week after her husband and she had been together to see me. I was glad to see her name in the list of patients I was to see today.

“Hello Nma,” I smiled at her.

She managed a smile back. She looked a bit ill. Her eyes looked swollen as though she hadn’t slept well. I felt a twinge of guilt. Dike had kept me busy and so angry that I had completely forgotten Nma. How had she been coping? What had been going on at home? After all, she was the real victim in all this.

“How have you been?”

“Very well, thank you.”

” You don’t look very well,” I said gently, “please tell me how you have been.”

The tears slowly trickled down her face and the drops gathered momentum until they became a stream down her face.

I passed her a tissue and watched silently as she fought with her feelings.

“My husband’s job, his immigration status, his insurance…”

“What are you talking about, Nma?” I asked bewildered.

“He can’t lose all that because of me.”

“Because of you..?”

“My HIV is my problem. I must bear my burden alone and let him carry on with his life.”

So that was it. Dike had been brainwashing her, blaming her for the HIV. Making her feel that his job,immigration status and insurance would be at risk because she had HIV.
And yet he had given her HIV!

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

 

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis

Blackmail

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (25)

HIV, Sexual wellbeing network, Adaeze IfezulikeSo that was it? Apology over? Not even the slightest pause to see what I would do with his incomplete apology? He was ready to carry on as if nothing had happened.

For a moment, I toyed with the idea of banging down the phone. Or maybe screaming at him. Or whatever. What
do people do when they are very upset? Or let me rephrase that: what would I do if I wasn’t a doctor holding a phone that was very likely being recorded and whose contents could be used against me in the court?

Before I could answer my own question Dike said:”My job is very important to me. Right now I am being considered for the post of Regional Director of my company and I don’t want anything to spoil my chances of being promoted.

“So this issue of my wife’s HIV must be kept very quiet. I wouldn’t want my company to find out about it.”

“Your wife has HIV, Dike. Shouldn’t you be thinking about how to get her treated and supported rather than worrying about your job?” I asked wearily. He was just unbelievable and I was tired and wanting to go home.

“You don’t understand,” he snapped. “This is my career we are talking about. I haven’t come this far for anything to scuttle my dreams. Nobody–I repeat nobody–will stand in my way.”

Looking for a speaker with a difference? Click here.

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis

The phone call

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (24)

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis“Hello my good Doctor,” Dike drawled.

“Hello.” I replied in a cold voice. I was in no mood for niceties with him.

“Can I help you?”

“I hope you are not too busy. You doctors need to make out time to rest, go on holidays…”

Unbelievable! What was this about?

“I am fine, thank you. So what can I do for you?” I repeated.

“Well, about our visit to you last week. I want to apologise for the way I behaved. I shouldn’t have walked out of the room the way I did. I hope you can forgive me.”

I waited expecting him to carry on: was he not going to apologise for shouting at his wife and I, overturning my table and scattering my documents..?

“Now doctor, I want to ask you a favour.” Dike carried on.

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

contraception, HIV, STD, Hepatitis

A doctor’s life.

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (23)

HIV, women health,contraception, abortion, rapeBy the thirty-sixth patient, I was exhausted but happy.

‘What a hard life a doctor’s life is,’ I mused as I bit into my nearly stale sandwich which I didn’t get to eat at lunch time because I was running late.

I could feel a mild headache at my temples which I always get when I am dehydrated.

‘Keep hydrated,’ I said to myself like I would say to my patients. ‘Doctor, practice what you preach!’

Ten minutes are provided for each patient: but how do you rush an elderly woman whose sole social engagement of the week is coming to see me?

Many patients like to tell me where they have been to in Africa. They might take a full two minutes trying to recall the places they have visited with the hope that I might recognise one of the places.
Lagos, Warri, Johannesburgh are the commom ones. And it is lovely chatting with them. But that usually leaves eight minutes or less for the actual consultation. It would be no problem except of course there is usually a list of things each patient wants me to sort out in the little time left…

I jumped as the receptionist knocked and popped her head round the door.

‘Are you free to speak to Mr Dike? He has been on the phone six times today. Says he really needs to speak to you.’

This is what I wanted to say: ‘Tell him to go away and never come back. Tell him that if he phones to ask for me, I will report him to the police for harassment. Tell him I have no business with him or his family.’

But all I said to the receptionist was: ‘Okay. Put him through.’

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

 

HIV? Me?

HIV? Me? No, I’m married! (22)

contraception, HIV, black women healthIt was just a short walk from my car into the surgery but the weather was so windy and wet that my dainty umbrella was useless in all that ferocity. I got a bit wet.

As I hurried into the surgery, the receptionist called out to me.

‘Dr Ezii,a gentleman called and left a message for you.’

‘Oh? Who was it?’ I asked as I took the mail out of my pigeonhole and hurriedly scanned through it.

‘A man named Dike.’

‘What the…’ I bit my lips to stop the swear word that had risen to my mouth, smiled my thanks to the receptionist and made my way to my consulting room. I was burning with anger.

It had been two days since the event with Dike. I thought I had managed to erase the bad taste the whole thing had left in my mouth.

I was still disgusted with myself over my cowardice at the doctors’ meeting. How could I have chickened out like that? What shameful diffidence!

What did he want now? How dare he even try to see me? Perhaps he was coming to apologise? Well, stuff his apology!
I immediately got into the business of the day. I had 36 patients to see with a paltry fifteen minutes break after the first eighteen. I had no time to waste on Dike and his family.

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.

 

 

 

The policy on violence.

HIV? Me? No, I’m married (21)

HIV, Black women's health, contraception, Understanding contraception: a guide for black ladiesI sat through the doctors’ weekly meeting like a zombie. I barely heard what was going on.

I nodded when someone spoke to me and smiled at my colleagues. All I could think of was what had happened an hour ago in my consulting room.

I felt anger building up again as I thought about what Dike had done. How dare he overturn my table!

I recalled his vehemence and how frightened I had been. I knew the NHS policy on violence towards staff – surely this ticked all the boxes? This was more than enough to show him the door. He would be de-registered immediately.

His details would be passed to the big bosses at the Community Health Partnership (CHP) and it would be recorded in his notes that he was a violent man and a threat to health professionals.

Those notes would follow him like his shadow wherever he might go to register. They would follow him forever.

They would be an invisible mark that nothing could erase.

I was jolted out of my reverie as the senior partner went round the table asking for ‘any other business’.

Each colleague shook his head. I squirmed with impatience, willing them to hurry up and get to me. I had something to say. I had a story to tell.

“Dr Ezii anything else?” He inquired as he got to me.

I took a few deep breaths. This was my moment. It was payback time and I was going to enjoy every moment of it.

‘No, nothing else,’ I heard myself saying. ‘Nothing to add.’

 

The Afrocarribean Health Event holds on 25th October at RCCG Fountain of Love Church hall, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen, Scotland. This free event is unique in that it tackles health issues that affect afrocarribeans.
Topics that will be featured include Mental Health, Hypertension and Diabetes, Sexual Health and Weight Management.
Experts on the above topics will be available to answer questions. Lunch will be provided. All adults are warmly invited.
Register for the event here.