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HIV Talk: What needs to happen to stop this flagrant sleeping around?

By Beatrice Tonhodzayi / Published on Thursday, 17 Aug 2017 16:11 PM / No Comments / 924 views

17 August 2017

AIDS COLUMN GRAPHIC

So I got quite a number of responses to my piece last week which was saying; “Everyone is sleeping with everyone.’

The gist of the article for those who did not read it was that it seems like many people are no longer worried about just how many of them are sleeping with the same person. You have women who will even fight over a man who they know is cheating on them all. You also have wives who fight woman after woman that their husbands are sleeping with and yet they continue to engage in unprotected sex with this same man without holding him to account.

In the same breath; I also raised concern around the issue of men who exchange the same girls. While you would think that these people who actually know that this woman has moved from this man to that one would insist on safe sex; it seems as if this is not happening in that way at all. Instead they all engage in unprotected sex; exposing themselves to the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIS.)

I posed a question at the end of my column last week where I asked whether we had forgotten that HIV is real and that once one succumbs to it; they live with it their whole life. I got quite a number of responses but what worried me more was that most of those who wrote in were concurring that there is a lot of sleeping around going on around us in the communities we live and most of the time; condoms are not used.

Do you know what is truly worrisome? That having unprotected sex seems to be part of our culture now? It seems as if this is how things are done and there are groups of people and generations of people who just do not believe in condoms? Condoms are not for them. But scarily enough; HIV testing does not seem to be for them either. So they use the eye test and just dive in. They are also not worried about doing it with many people at the same time.

However one Tendai said that this has always been the case with people sleeping with each other and everyone around them. He said the only difference nowadays was the advent of social media which has seen people getting found out when they do things.

“Because of technology there is always an imprint. There is always proof which remains behind; which is why it seems as if daily there are people who are caught out doing what they should not be doing. Sleeping around has always been there; hence the saying ‘gomba harina mwana’ which was simply put because many married women slept with men other than their husbands and actually conceived children out of those liaisons. Today; what has complicated matters is that we have HIV and all manner of issues so people ought to exercise some restraint,” he said.

Another reader blamed the state of affairs on the break-down of marriages saying there were lots of single mothers; hence they tended to sleep with several men. I don’t know about that one though because from the reports we see; even the married women sleep with their fair share of several men. I think it is not even about marital status but about how we take responsibility as a society. I also think it is high time we stopped blaming each other because it always takes two to tango.

Farai had an interesting take where he blamed married women who continue to stick to men who sleep around just because our society has taught us to value the marital status ahead of health and happiness. Farai also had problems with me just encouraging people to pray saying that prayer would not solve these things as people had to take charge of their lives.

“God assists those who also put in an effort to save themselves. People need to choose what is more important; being healthy or living with someone who is dicing with not only their health but yours too. Is it not better to be a divorcee than staying with someone who you know is sleeping around with several people?

“From my analysis women tend to give the marriage title a higher priority than their life; with some even saying they are in the marriage to look after their children yet they will be sexually active with the serial cheater.”

While Farai made some key insights; today we also have husbands who stay on with cheating women hey so; the issues are more complicated. Of course more women than men are wont to stay on eve if it means a whole lifetime of chasing woman after woman from their husband’s side.

Farai said it is high time cheating husbands are held to account where they should explain why they would have cheated rather than just have women fight over them. I agree. Let’s deal with the problem. Why do people do it?

It is good when such insights come from men because in this highly patriarchal society; many a woman have stayed on despite the risks because there is just no other option. Then others just need the tag of having a man which opens them up to all forms of abuse.

Brian said something was seriously wrong with this generation where even health workers who should know better’ also sleep around. He said no one was immune for those who should teach others to be safe and to stick to one partner were also sleeping around.

At this point; I ask again; shall we behave as if we cannot control ourselves? Why can’t we use the condom correctly and consistently if we cannot just graze in our own yards? Why not take HIV testing as a way of life and stop testing people with our eyes?

Do we know that HIV is for life and it also predisposes one to other conditions which are even more worrisome?

What happened to self-love?

btonhodzayi@gmail.com

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