Dear Aunty – June 2009

Why does Government legalize abortions in hospitals?

Presently in Nigeria, abortion is allowed to take place when it can endanger the life of a mother if the pregnancy is allowed to continue i.e. for therapeutic reason. Before it is allowed, thee decision to carry it out must have been supported by more than one doctor. Though there have been calls/demands that Government should legalize it such that whoever is pregnant and feels that the pregnancy is unwanted can get it terminated. Termination of pregnancy like any operation carries some risk. The risk could be reduced if carried out by trained or competent persons in a proper environment.


Why do some parents encourage their adolescent girls to do family planning?

Presently there is no data to support the extent to which parents support their adolescent daughter(s) to use birth control methods to prevent them from having unwanted pregnancy if the parent realizes that she is sexually active and having pregnancy may truncate her future aspirations; when parents especially mothers support their daughters to use birth control, its done discreetly.


Can family planning prevent someone from contracting sexually transmitted infections?

Family planning methods or otherwise known as contraceptive methods or birth control methods are many and they are solely to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Its only male and female condoms that serve dual purpose of preventing pregnancy as well as protecting users from contracting sexually transmitted infections.


How can one know that he or she has STI from the signs and symptoms that he or she has?

Sexually transmitted infections are many and each has peculiar signs and symptoms, but the following signs and symptoms are common to all:

  • Discharge with offensive odour from the vagina or penis.
  • Pains during urination.
  • Lower abdominal pain.
  • Rashes, sores or blisters in the genital areas.
  • Itching of genital area.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes.

Apart from presenting signs and symptoms, one can also know that he or she has an STI through laboratory investigations. And this gives more confirmation than signs and symptoms. It can also tell the type of drug you use.


How long can an HIV patient live?

An HIV patient is better referred to HIV positive or person living with HIV and not HIV patient. An HIV positive person can live as long as his or her immune system can keep the viral load at a very low level such that his general well-being improves and he or she does not fall sick and can cope with his or her daily activities. This is possible through the use of antiretroviral drugs and positive living; that is good nutrition, god hygiene and not catching other diseases such as diarrhoea, tuberculosis and other infections.


Can you tell me if I am still a virgin or not? Somebody raped me through my anus and I want to confirm if I am still a virgin.

The definition of virginity is breaking the hymen though the penetration of the vagina by the penis. However, the definition of virginity is not that simple now, one of the definitions of being—“a state of pure, us sullied or untouched”. A person who has penis in the anus cannot be described as “untouched” or “unsullied” even though the hymen may be intact. In the strictest term, you have not had vagina penetration by the opposite sex, therefore in the past you would be described as a virgin.


My cousin molested me when I was young. Now I’m sixteen and each time I see him my feeling towards him is that of shame. My parents do not know about this and that makes it difficult for me to deal with as I hurt inside.

You owe it to yourself to find someone you can talk to and walk with to help you understand and resolve your feelings, as well as protect yourself. Clearly you are angry, hurt, and perhaps fearful, and these powerful feelings are translating into hate. It is understandable since your feelings are most likely the direct result of your molestation; however, these feelings can be destructive to you. That is so important that you get the help you need and observe so that this doesn’t interfere with living your life in a rich and satisfying way. Many women and men have been molested by family members, and more people than we realize have been able to find assistance they needed. This assistance has made a good difference in their ability to live loving, productive and satisfying lives.

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