A must-watch film for young women (and men!)

BBC Murdered by my boyfriend, sexual wellbeing networkI had an incredible relaxing Christmas period and I hope you did too.
A major feature of my holiday was just sitting back with family to catch up on family favourites like the very Scottish ‘Brave‘ and the lovely ‘Frozen‘.
I even managed to watch the Christmas edition of East Enders :-), caught a bit of the Queen’s Christmas speech and watched Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special. 
I must say I enjoyed ‘Gone Girl‘ though mystery and murder are not usually my thing.
I could feel the stress of hospital work oozing out of me and all my systems melting into relaxation as we ate and lounged about with friends and family.
But there was one film that had me sitting upright.
Its the BBC true life story ‘Murdered by my boyfriend‘.
If you are a woman between the ages of 13 and 50, I would strongly recommend that you watch this film.
All mothers of teenage children should sit down with their kids and watch this.
If you are not yet in a relationship or just entering one, this is the must-watch film before you commit.
If you are a man reading this, please watch this film.
I dont want to give away much: you really need to click below and start watching now.
Please leave your comments below. We learn from each other.
Here’s to a beautiful New year!
If you need more information on domestic violence please visit this site for help.

Afro-Carribean Health Summit -19th April -Aberdeen, UK

A warm invitation to all Afro-Carribeans in UK and abroad to attend a health summit – the first of its kind. It will be a great educational event for all attendees. For Healthcare professionals, this will count towards your Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Its Easter weekend so what better time than this to visit lovely Aberdeen and be a part of this great event!

image

 

 

Contraception- to ignore it or tackle it…that is the question!

Its one of those issues that confront women at one time of their lives or another. It just wont go away! Atleast not while sex continues 😉

Many ignore it at their peril. Others barely tolerate it as a necessary evil.

Where do you stand?

Consider my discussion with Amina below (name changed to protect patient’s confidentiality).

Amina looked at me, her eyes filled with tears.

“I need your help, doctor, I’m pregnant again.” She paused as though the fact still amazed her, as if she was hearing the news for the first time.

I waited patiently as she fought with her emotions. When she started to speak again, the words tumbled out of her in a rush.

“It’s my fifth pregnancy, doctor… we had planned to stop… we really can’t afford another baby… I don’t have a job and my husband’s company is making people redundant so we are not sure of his job either…”

She grabbed the tissue I held out to her and dashed it to her eyes.

“I feel terrible. I had an abortion just four months ago.

“It’s… We… I just can’t have another baby.” The tears overflowed again.

When the storm had calmed, I gently enquired what contraception she was using.

“We use condoms… Sometimes.”

“At other times?”

Silence.

And then: “Nothing,” she confessed.

“I just didn’t think it would happen again so soon, doctor.”

The statistics speak for themselves!

Consider the fact that in 2012, in England and Wales, 49% of black women having an abortion had a previous abortion. This is well above the national recurrent abortion average of 36%.

Black women are ignoring contraception with resulting serious consequences. Unplanned pregnancies, soaring abortion rates, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and other sexually transmitted infections continue to rule the day.

We must stop and take stock of where we are, Black sisters. Together let’s explore our issues and begin to make changes that will bear fruit.

understanng contraception

buy nowCLICK HERE TO GET IT ON AMAZON

My Contraception failed me!!

A dear friend called me on phone a few days ago. We had talked about contraception in the past and after the birth of her last child she had started using a new method of contraception like any responsible person who didn’t want an unplanned pregnancy.

So I was stunned when she said she had done a pregnancy test and found out she was pregnant despite her contraception.

I know none of the methods are 100% effective (try abstinence or hysterectomy if you must have 100%) but it’s always a huge surprise to me when I meet someone who is the <1% person who will get pregnant despite using an effective method that does not depend on user expertise.
Methods like coils, implants and injections just do the job without any help from you but, very occasionally, they fail.

I could feel her distress and confusion.

What had gone wrong??
She did as she was told and yet….

How do you counsel such a person? What can you say to make it right?

Nothing really except to empathise and crosscheck that they had indeed done everything the right way.

Ensure they attended their three monthly injections on time… check.
They could feel their coil threads after each period and it hadn’t been pulled out with the tampon… check.
The implant can be felt in their arm… check.
The pills were taken regularly, they hadn’t had diarrhoea or vomited and lost the tablet… check.
They used the condom consistently and correctly… check.

So what next?
At this point I let each person go and talk to their spouse and decide on what to do. Only they can make the decision. Whatever decision they arrive at, my role is to support and not judge.

Sexual Wellbeing Network

Sexual Wellbeing Network

And I explain again carefully to the next person how to use a method properly while in my heart hoping and praying that they are not the <1% who the method will fail.

Have you ever been failed by your contraception? What went wrong in your case? And what helped to make things right?

You can also join the conversation on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/healthysextoday

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??

You’re pregnant! Congratulations! (Or not?)

A warm welcome to today’s post! I trust you have had a great time since the last blog and that you are already inspired to take positive measures towards better sexual well being.

positive steps

Why not let other black sisters know what new steps you’ve taken. Drop a comment in the box below and you can also let me know if there are any burning sexual health issues you would like to discuss.

One of the commonest things ladies ask me about is contraception. Once I have been introduced to a woman and she learns that I am a doctor, the very next chance she has, she pulls me aside and say ‘Oh doctor, I have been meaning to see someone about this, please what contraception should I be using?’

People want answers to medical issues that they face daily and that is a good thing. The more informed we are, the more equipped we are to make positive choices.

This blog looks at sexual health issues. Make sure you click the ‘follow’ button so you don’t miss out on any posts.

So – do you remember Amina?-(If you haven’t met Amina, please read my earlier blog at https://adaezeifezulike.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/contraception-to-ignore-it-or-tackle-it-that-is-the-question-2/).

She found herself with an unplanned pregnancy and had come to the family planning clinic to request an abortion. This happens only too frequently.

We had established that Amina used condoms sometimes and nothing at other times. We will be focusing on condom use in a later post… so watch out!

“So how would you want to proceed from here?” I asked, gently.

“What else can I do, doctor? Abortion is my only option! We couldn’t possibly afford a fourth child,” her eyes brimmed over with tears again.

“How would you feel if I mentioned some option?”

“Like what, doctor?”                                                                                                                  “What are your thoughts about adoption?”

“What! Have the child and then give it away? God forbid!” She exclaimed. “Our culture does not support adoption…You should know that, doctor,” she ended reproachfully.

“Well, more and more black families are choosing to adopt children, especially those who can’t have their own kids,” I replied with a smile.

“I really don’t know about that. I don’t think I could go down that route, doctor. Any more options?” She asked hopefully.

“What about keeping the pregnancy?”

She shook her head slowly and gave a loud sigh. “We can’t afford another child, really. But I will discuss adoption with my husband and see what he thinks.”

“Ultimately the decision is yours and we are here to help. It’s only fair I highlight other options to you and you can let me know what you decide to do. Shall I see you back in two days or a week’s time?”

She booked an appointment for a week’s time.

When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, what do you do? Many black communities see adoption as something foreign and that means that option is not even considered in many cases. Should we encourage more adoption? What are your views?

What other options are there to abortion?
abortionWhat would you put in the fourth small circle on the left? Remember: the whole point of this blog is to prevent you from getting to the point where you face an unplanned pregnancy in the first place. Effective use of contraception will help this.

Amina came back to see me a week later. I am sure you would want to know what she decided to do so please stay tuned.

Until next time, have a great week!

Dr Adaeze.

Contraception- to ignore it or tackle it…that is the question!

Its one of those issues that confront women at one time of their lives or another. It just wont go away! Atleast not while sex continues 😉

Many ignore it at their peril. Others barely tolerate it as a necessary evil.

Where do you stand?

Consider my discussion with Amina below (name changed to protect patient’s confidentiality).

Amina looked at me, her eyes filled with tears.

“I need your help, doctor, I’m pregnant again.” She paused as though the fact still amazed her, as if she was hearing the news for the first time.

I waited patiently as she fought with her emotions. When she started to speak again, the words tumbled out of her in a rush.

“It’s my fifth pregnancy, doctor… we had planned to stop… we really can’t afford another baby… I don’t have a job and my husband’s company is making people redundant so we are not sure of his job either…”

She grabbed the tissue I held out to her and dashed it to her eyes.

“I feel terrible. I had an abortion just four months ago.

“It’s… We… I just can’t have another baby.” The tears overflowed again.

When the storm had calmed, I gently enquired what contraception she was using.

“We use condoms… Sometimes.”

“At other times?”

Silence.

And then: “Nothing,” she confessed.

“I just didn’t think it would happen again so soon, doctor.”

The statistics speak for themselves!

Consider the fact that in 2011, in England and Wales, 49% of black women having an abortion had a previous abortion. This is well above the national recurrent abortion average of 36%.

Black women are ignoring contraception with resulting serious consequences. Unplanned pregnancies, soaring abortion rates, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and other sexually transmitted infections continue to rule the day.

We must stop and take stock of where we are, Black sisters. Together let’s explore our issues and begin to make changes that will bear fruit.

My blog is committed to informing and equipping black women with the skill and knowledge they need to make positive decisions concerning their sexual health. I encourage black ladies to: implant

 Make the right decision for themselves concerning Contraception and Reproductive Health care.

 Reduce Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) rates.

 Knock down Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion rates

 Avoid early teenage Sexual activity and Teenage Pregnancy prevention

 Encourage testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B and C HIVhepatitis

 Ensuring that early diagnosis of the above infections result in effective treatment and therefore better health for the affected.

Join me as we take this journey. Stay tuned to the blog as I am sure you would love to know what Amina decided to do. Don’t forget to leave a comment as I would love to hear from you (Yes! Your opinion matters!). Like the page on facebook (Why not spread the news?).  Follow the blog so you don’t miss any juicy bits.

Till next time, keep shining!

Dr Adaeze Ifezulike