We are seated at a nice hotel on Mombasa Road one recent evening at the end of January. Opposite me are two young women – one a TV anchor whose 25th birthday we are here to toast to.
And her chubby, but cute 23-year old pal, whom we’ll just call Sue*, who is in a long but slashed skirt. After a few White Russian cocktails, Sue smiles and says casually: ‘I’m such a slut!’
"Why do you say that?", I ask, a bit shocked at this self-denigrating statement.
“I lost my virginity at 21,” Sue says, "but now my ‘body count’ is already 27..."
She mentions it with the pride Samson must have announced his slaying of 300 Philistines with the bone of an ass (punda), but in Sue’s case, she’s slain all these men with her non-bony stronghold.
Turns out, later, as the evening progresses, that Sue has actually slept with 18 men, seven women, one ‘trans-gender’ (she swears!) and someone she does not want to remember "because it was like incest ...".
Last week, there was a video of a barely 19-year-old girl in Luhya land riding a man alleged to be her uncle, or was it sister’s husband? (with social media, it’s hard to tell).
The undisputed fact is that she was having raw unprotected sex with the man, yet very few social media commenters cared to comment to condemn the unsafe sex practice of the ‘couple.’
Maybe because it is becoming commonplace in this 'post fatal Aids, hook-up culture era," especially among the younger women (men have been brushed aside in this article, because their sex conquest behaviour has stayed standard in 2020 as in 2000 as in 1980, when HIV first reared its ugly big head).
Empowerment for the Girl child has led to looser liaisons and more relaxed attitudes about virginity. Technology, starting with ‘sexting’ at 16 right up to picking up strangers at 30 from Tinder has now led to the tinder box of an increasing case of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections).
Doctor Steve Amayo, based at the South ‘C’ branch of Bliss Clinics, gives us a whole menu of STIs that we risk, based on this 2020 casual approach to 'strokes,’ rubs and the genital grind ...
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“Unprotected sex,” he says, “whether vaginal, oral or anal, any skin-to-skin genital contact (or gland combat, as some call it) exposes one to a whole culture of bacteria, viruses and lurking STI parasites.”
STIs risked are bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, Hepatitis B and the HPV (Human Pallimona Virus).
A 27-year-old Swahili lady I’ll call Fatma* agrees that rampant drinking, bhang smoking (even among women nowadays, where weed is cool) and the casual ‘hook-up’ culture enabled by the smartphones is responsible for looser behavior these days, and the general increase in STI cases, country-wide.
“I still give my sponsor (a married guy twice her age, who takes Viagra) without CDs, and pop pills!”
“Young people should go back to the ABCs - Abstinence, Be Faithful, Condom usage,” Dr Amayo says.
“For women, these young ladies ought to know that not all infections go away - and pelvic inflammation, infertility, cancer, pregnancy complications and children with birth defects can happen as a consequence of bad choices.”
“Practice safe sex, pack a pack (of condoms) when you travel, don’t imagine contraceptives prevent STIs, don’t over drink or do drugs (they impair judgment and lead to women picking up strangers in pubs, and men sex workers off the streets, or shooting DJs).”
He also counsels the avoidance of tattoos, body piercings, acupuncture treatments, sharing razors, toothbrushes or needles, as a way to avoid the scourge of STIs.
Eugenia, a pretty 30-year-old Pulser, tells us that she is a bit of a "nympho" and keeps three ‘Friends with Benefits.’
"I stay protected, always, but these days kuna dawa za STI ka zote,” she says. Then adds: “Ata Aids ni ka tu diabetes! (Aids is like diabetes)”
A true post-antibiotic apocalyptic age.
An opportunistic infection like e.coli klebsiella (it sounds like an exotic dance club in Turkey) that’s lived as entero bacteriaceae inside one’s gut can be manageable.
But to get super gonorrhoea, Neisseria. Gonorrhoea; Neisseria, like the name of a beautiful Maasai girl! Or an Egyptian goddess, will be lethal.
Normally it should be easily treatable by a combination of drugs called azithromycin and ceftriaxone, but not with the turbo-charged version of the disease, that will resist both meds.
Back at ole Sereni, the TV anchor was still teasing her friend about getting her ‘body count’ to thirty by Madaraka Day.
Sue sipped her White Russian and semi-slurred "May First, Labour Day. Pinkie promise ..."
‘You’ll do it by April First,’ I hear myself say, ‘the day dedicated to you.’