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FREE MAGAZINE October 2010

Baby Blues

How STDs can influence your fertility


Telling your partner the truth

How to cope with inquisitive minds

Peace,Quiet... and Rooibos The last public appearance:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his 79th birthday


On the Cover:

October 2010

Baby Blues – How STDs can influence your fertility


Positive Dating: Telling your partner the truth


Not my parents – How to cope with inquisitive minds


Feature Articles: The Power of O3 – The miracle of ozone therapy


The (way) low down – Herpes vs Warts, can you tell them apart?


Regulars: Letter from the Editor


Breaking News


Diet and Exercise


In Aid of


Living with AIDS


Skin Care




Cover Icon: Peace, Quiet... and Rooibos The last public appearance: Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his 79th birthday.






PRODUCTION Publisher: Chris Bernard Achola Desktop Publishing: OnDesign Printer: Paarl Media Distribution: David Prichard EDITORIAL TEAM & CONTRIBUTORS Managing Editor: Marilize Nel Journalists: Tarryn Freeme & Anzél van der Mescht Sub Editor: Tshego Lepule Experts: Fogcityjohn, Anika Smal EDITORIAL CONTACT MANAGING EDITOR: Marilize Nel email: Postal Addrress: POZnews, Blue Waters Suite 2, Tableview, 7441, Cape Town Tel: 021 – 557 0345 Fax: 021 – 557 3871 website: ADVERTISING CONTACT Chantal Snell Tel: 021 – 557 0345 email: 3 October 2010


With the arrival of a sparkling, new magazine, the POZnews team wipe the sweat from their brows. Months of hard work and nail-biting have finally led to the publication of the first edition of POZnews! Before the past months, I’d never heard of spray-on condoms, male birth-control pills or the HIV gel. And we bring all the interesting, informative news to you, whether it’s weird, awkward or appealing, interesting or fun. Because knowledge is power, right? And knowing your status can save your life! Testing positive for a disease or virus isn’t the end of the world - there are many treatments, cures, surgeries and alternative remedies to shine the light at the end of the tunnel. We cover them all. With heaps of medical information, POZnews is your guide to health.


October 2010

Don’t stop visiting your doctor though! First-hand medical advice from a healthcare professional is very important to diagnose and treat acute infections and conditions. We’re all living with HIV and other infectious diseases every day. Maybe you or a loved one is infected. Maybe you are hiding your status and not getting help. Or maybe you are proud of it and trying to make a difference. Whatever you are, we’re here to help you. Living POZitively means knowing how you can make a difference and then, doing it!

Managing Editor: Marilize Nel

Researchers in Israel say they have discovered a method to kill HIV-infected cells, fuelling hope for a cure. The technique involves getting the virus to overload the host cell with viral DNA which makes the cell self-destruct and kill the virus. The researchers have warned that this method has only worked in laboratory dishes so far and has not been tested in humans. Antiretroviral treatment, the most popular weapon used against the fight of AIDS, stops the infected cells from replicating, but it does not kill the HIV in the host cells or the cell itself. Researchers said their discovery could lead to an anti-HIV therapy that could eradicate the virus completely.

Sex education for 5-year-olds

A British health campaigner said that children as young as five-years-old should be taught sex education. He says it would provide them with the skills and confidence to delay sexual intimacy until they were ready. Inadequate sex education at a young age is widely seen as a contributing factor to Britain’s high rate of teenage pregnancy, the highest in the whole of Europe, despite a 13% decrease over the past decade. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) stated that “topics should be introduced and covered in a way that is appropriate to the maturity of pupils and is based on an understanding of their needs and is sensitive to diverse cultural, faith and family perspectives”.

Superbug could spread

A new gene has been discovered by British scientists and it is causing quite an uproar. The gene allows any bacteria to become a superbug and it is rapidly spreading throughout the world, but is widespread in India. The gene, which can be swapped between different bacteria to make them resistant to most drugs, has thus far been identified in thirty-seven people who returned to the UK after undergoing surgery in India or Pakistan. The resistant gene has also been detected in Australia, Canada, the USA, the Netherlands and Sweden. Researchers say since many Americans and Europeans travel to India and Pakistan for elective procedures like cosmetic surgery, it is likely the superbug gene would spread worldwide. The gene alters bacteria making them resistant to nearly all known antibiotics. It has been seen largely in E. coli bacterium, which is the most common cause of urinary tract infections. This also affects DNA structures that can easily be copied and passed onto other types of bacteria. 4

October 2010

Acupuncture does not boost IVF

IVF involves fertilizing a woman’s eggs in a lab dish and then transferring the resulting embryos into her uterus. While some studies have suggested that acupuncture might boost a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), new findings question the benefit of the exercise. In a study of 160 women who underwent IVF at one infertility clinic, researchers found that those who were randomly assigned to have acupuncture right before and after treatment were no more likely to fall pregnant than those who had a placebo version of acupuncture. Forty-five percent of the women who received the acupuncture were found to be pregnant in five to six weeks after IVF and the figure increased to 53% in the women who received the sham treatment, meaning more women fell pregnant by not using acupuncture.

Gonorrhoea may become untreatable

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns gonorrhoea might soon become untreatable unless new ways to treat and prevent the sexually transmitted disease are devised. The WHO said improper use of antibiotics has resulted in widespread resistance to the infection with cheaper, firstline antibiotics losing their effectiveness. “If this continues, it will only be a matter of time before gonorrhoea develops resistance to third-generation antibiotics,” the health body warned. Australia, Hong Kong and Japan have already reported treatment failures with oral cephalosporin, which is currently used in the last-line treatment of gonorrhoea, they said. Dr Shin Young-Soo, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said there would be serious implications to public health if gonorrhoea becomes untreatable.

Sperm and Soft Drinks Do Not Mingle

Results from a recent Danish study predict that men who drink about 750ml or more of any soft drink every day could be causing harm to their sperm. Men who take in these drinks have up to 30% less sperm than those who do not drink fizzy drinks. While most of the sperm counts would still be considered normal by the World Health Organization, men with fewer sperm are generally at risk of becoming infertile. There is no link to the caffeine content of the drinks - coffee did not show similar results, even though its caffeine content is higher. Other ingredients in the beverage or an unhealthy lifestyle could be involved. More than 2 500 young men were included in this study. Those who didn’t drink soda had better sperm quality, averaging 50 million sperm per millilitre semen; they also tend to have a healthier lifestyle. In contrast, the ninety-three men who drank more than one litre a day had only 35 million sperm per millilitre. They also ate more fast foods, and less fruits and vegetables.

Comeback of the year: Measles

This year alone nearly 750 people from eastern and southern Africa have died from measles and about 48 000 children in fourteen countries have been infected by the virus, according to a recent United Nations media statement. The outbreak is an indication that this dangerous and highly infectious illness is still at large and should be guarded against, says Dr Pete Vincent of the Netcare Travel Clinics and Medicross Family Medical and Dental Centre. Dr Vincent notes that while the Department of Health has been conducting a massive national immunisation campaign, there have been outbreaks of the disease in all of the provinces in South Africa. He further points out that measles can cause dangerous complications in both children and adults and can sometimes be fatal. The virus can cause a number of complications including encephalitis, pneumonia, diarrhoea, croup and middle ear infection. Dr Vincent says the only protection against the disease aside from natural immunity is the measles vaccine, and a follow-up booster vaccine.



Hope for Cure: New RESEARCH Findings

Hormonal contraceptive linked to sexual dysfunction

Women taking any form of hormonal contraceptives are at a very high risk of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), according to a study of female German medical students. Interestingly, women taking non-hormonal contraceptives were at lowest risk for FSD, more than women not using any contraceptive. “Sexual problems can have a negative impact on both quality of life and emotional well-being, regardless of age,” said researcher Dr Lisa-Maria Wallwiener of the University of Heidelberg in Germany. “FSD is a very common disorder, with an estimated prevalence of about two in five women having at least one sexual dysfunction, and the most common complaint appearing to be low desire.” adds Dr Wallwiner. According to Drs Christian and Markus Wallwiener from the University of Tuebingen in Germany “women tend to be aware that sexual dysfunction is often influenced by various factors such as stress and relationships, but our study has shown it might also be influenced by exogenous hormone application.”

New morning-after pill approved

The sale of a new, although very controversial, French birth control pill has been approved by the US Health Panel. The pill can prevent pregnancy for up to five days after unprotected sex. The final decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not expected for several months, but the now much talked about “Ella” pill got the nod of approval and was deemed safe. The manufacturers of the drug, HRA Pharma, says the pill delays ovulations, while opponents maintain it works by stopping a fertilised egg from implanting in the walls of a woman’s uterus. The longer contraceptive period offered, five days as opposed to three, could raise controversy with anti-abortion groups who consider its effects more akin to abortion than birth control. The pill is not yet available in South Africa.

October 2010



Can’t get enough of our stories? Log on to our website: and read more on health issues making headlines.

Latest Top Tips

By Anzél van der Mescht.

When you are infected with a serious disease such as HIV, it is important to try and fight the disease and improve your quality of life by keeping your immune system strong. An important part of nutrition is distinguishing between, and getting enough of, macro- and micronutrients. Macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates and fats – they assist in maintaining your body weight. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals you need to take in to keep your cells in proper working order.


Spray-on Condom Finding the right-sized condom can be tricky for some men and putting it on correctly every time can be even more challenging, which is why German inventors have come to the rescue and are currently working on a solution: the spray-on condom.

Men: Man up to Birth-Control Pills Would you be willing to pop a pill everyday that brings your sperm count down to zero? Or do you feel that beyond condoms, birth control is mainly a woman’s responsibility?

Legal Weed for HIV Patients in US Marijuana, the controversial herb, is making headlines again with the recent decision to approve the use of medical marijuana in HIV/AIDS patients in the United States.

Crossing Borders The search for antiretroviral treatment HIV-positive children and their parents, especially from surrounding countries like Zimbabwe, are reportedly flocking to South Africa in search of free ARVs.

Sex workers felt the pinch during World Cup Despite claims that sex business would boom during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, sex workers from all over South Africa suffered a slow, unproductive month.

Protein: A regular intake of protein will help you retain muscle. Great sources of protein include lean meat, fish, beans, seeds and lentils. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates will provide you with energy. Sources include complex carbs like grain, cereal, fruit, vegetables, and simplex carbs like honey and jam – these will provide you with quick energy. Avoid processed carbs like white bread and white rice – these supply you with a quick boost which fades just as quickly, leaving you hungrier than before. Fats: You needn’t take in too much fat, but a small amount of the right fats are very important for brain function, eyes, skin and hair. For the best sources of good fats, try nuts, seeds, canola and olive oils.


All vitamins are important for maintaining your health, B vitamins especially. Deprivation from these vitamins can lead to digestive disturbances such as weight loss and lack of appetite, degeneration of the sex glands, headaches, anxiety and moodiness. Vitamin B1 helps maintain a normal metabolism, burn carbohydrates and it aids the nervous system. Vitamin B1 or Thiamin is found in most whole grains, lean meat, fish and beans. Vitamin B2 helps prevent and treat migraines, cataracts and rheumatoid arthritis as well as maintaining a proper metabolism. You can find it in organ meats such as liver, kidney and heart, milk, cheese, eggs and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. Vitamin B6 is vital in the metabolism of amino acids and it helps to maintain a healthy immune system. A good source of B6 is liver, chicken, eggs, peas, sunflower seeds, bread and spinach. Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells, aids in the production of genetic material and is essential for the proper production of blood in the body. Find it in tuna, cottage cheese, yogurt and eggs.

National Nutrition Week: 9 -13 October 2010

SUPERfood of the Month: SPINACH

Renowned for its rich iron content, spinach has been a much appreciated herb after the recent finding that spinach has anti-carcinogenic properties. With only 71 kilojoules, 100g of spinach supplies the body with 5mg iron, 500mg potassium, 170mg calcium, 23mg Vitamin C, 500g of beta-carotene, 150mg folic acid, and much more. All these nutrients leads to a stronger, healthier body. If you don’t like the taste of raw spinach, in salads or sandwiches, try creamed or steamed spinach. For creamed spinach, simply boil the spinach in a little cream for a few minutes, then add the rest of the cream, spice according to taste and simmer until the spinach is soft and creamy. Enjoy with grilled chicken and brown rice for a very healthy and tasty dinner. Why is exercise important? The best thing about exercise is that it will help you feel better and fight the side effects of the disease and the medication. The advantages to regular, yet moderate, exercise are endless. Although it will do relatively the same thing as with a healthy person improve your muscle mass, strength, endurance, heart and lung functions, increase energy levels and reduce stress - it will also improve appetite, sleeping patterns, blood sugar, and the immune systems of HIV patients. The risks of exercising when you are ill includes dehydration, the loss of body mass and injuries may take longer to heal. It doesn’t matter which exercises you choose to do, as long as you enjoy them and choose wisely. Cardio exercises such as running, swimming or playing sports are great to increase energy levels and training with weights will increase your lean body mass. Try exercising 20 to 45 minutes a day, three times a week. October 2010



What are the NGO’s and charities up to? “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world” – Desmond Tutu

Charity Snippet God’s Golden Acre is a non-profit charitable organisation, established by a passionate and loving woman, Heather Reynolds. The organisation cares for children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to HIV/ AIDS, as well as children who come from violent homes. The children are provided with a good education and nurtured into well-adjusted adults. Most of the organization’s work is done in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. God’s Golden Acre includes a range of initiatives which help the children on different levels, depending on what they need. Read more on their website:

Volunteer programme Project Gateway is offering people the opportunity to join their volunteer programme. Help local communities by doing practical, on-site work such as painting or even building playgrounds. There are three areas of service you can choose from: Empowerment, Caring Ministries and Education and Training. Project Gateway will organize everything except for your flights (if needed). Read more about their volunteer programmes at

Ongoing projects A non-profit organisation based in Cape Town, Camp Amandla, runs an ongoing initiative, where kids affected by, and infected with, HIV participate in an adventure camp. The 10-day camp focuses on educating, raising awareness and teaching life skills to these children. Days are jam-packed with fun activities such as sports, arts & crafts, nature walks and team building. For more information, visit 8

October 2010

Events Gala Dinner – 7 October 2010 Home of Hope was established to help children who are abandoned, abused, infected with HIV and AIDS, and much more. They will be hosting their annual Gala Dinner on the 7th of October at the Pigalle Restaurant in Green Point. For more information, call Janci Prinsloo on 083 282 0036.

Cycle Challenge – 8 October 2010 The Engen Dynamic Cycle Challenge will be taking place at Nelson’s Creek in Wellington. Half of the funds raised through entering the race will go to The Children’s Hospital Trust.

Golf Day- 14 October 2010 To raise funds for The Children’s Hospital Trust, the annual Coots golf day will be held at the Westlake Golf Course in Steenberg, Cape Town. The Children’s Hospital Trust is an independent charity organisation dedicated to sick children in South Africa. These children are also affected by HIV and other infectious diseases.

In the news The Gauteng province started a HIV testing campaign where over 340 000 people have been tested for HIV/AIDS since April. This has caused Gauteng to be the leader in the number of people going for tests. The Provincial Department of Health aims to have about 3.3 million people tested by June next year. The campaign is aimed at encouraging healthy living as well as assuring people that becoming infected with HIV is not a death sentence, therefore eradicating the reason people fear getting tested. There has also been an increase in the availability of AntiRetroviral treatment nationwide.


What all men and women should know By Anika Smal The skin is the most complex organ in the human body. It should make sense to treat your skin as you would all organs, right? Epidermis: The skin consists of three layers. The most superficial, the epidermis, has the very important function of protecting the underlying layers. The cells responsible for pigment production is found here, thus the skin colour and tone is determined in this superficial layer. This layer consists of 5 individual layers and is about 0.2mm thick in total. Dermis: The thicker dermal layer, which is located below the epidermis, contains the glands, hair follicles, small blood capillaries and the cells which are responsible for anti-aging. If you accidently cut yourself and the wound bleeds, it would mean that you have cut through the epidermis. This layer’s thickness varies between 1-2mm. Hypodermis: The third layer of the skin is the subcutaneous fatty layer which lies underneath. This layer contains the main arteries and lymphatic capillaries. The main function of this layer is insulation. It also connects the skin to the rest of the bodily systems. Your health affects the skin in such a way that it is visible in the skin. For example, imperfections on the jaw area is indicated by a hormonal imbalance whereas the cheek area could indicate a health problem concerned with the lungs. Today’s society is all about appearance and grooming as it brings about the amount of self respect. As a whole, we are far more career driven as in previous centuries and unfortunately appearance sells. It is perceived that in order for one to be accepted as ‘beautiful’ the skin has October 2010

Everyday skin tips Women

• Cleanse your skin thoroughly am & pm using the correct cleanser • Use the correct day and night cream (they serve different functions) • Use a SPF 20 on all exposed areas. Apply daily. (your office lights are harmful, not only the sun) You should also re-apply during the day • Do your research on the oral contraceptive pills. They contain various formulations of hormones. The correct one should be advised as some could cause pigmentation or acne


• Cleanse your skin daily. • Shaving oils are better than foams. They have a softening action on the hair and form a protective layer over the skin thus avoiding razor cuts and burns. • Avoid fragranced aftershave balms or moisturizers. The skin is sensitized. • Apply a SPF 20 daily For specific skin advice, please write to us and we will answer all your question in the next issue. Anika Smal is a skincare professional and lecturer in Cape Town.

to be clear, flawless and have a nice overall tone. Very few people are this fortunate. Skin conditions like sensitivity, uneven skin tone, premature ageing and acne are the most common skin concerns in South Africa. The reason for this is the amount of pollution and harmful UV rays our skin has to compete with on a daily basis. These conditions can be prevented and even improved with the correct care for the skin. The first step is to determine what the primary cause of the problem is. Sensitivity could be caused by an impaired protective layer or even using the incorrect products e.g. men using improper shaving regimes, causing a skin rash or ingrown hairs. Women might be using the incorrect skin care products. Hyper pigmentation could be caused by prolonged UV exposure or hormones whereas Acne has a few factors contributing to the formation thereof. You don’t necessarily have to go for facials every month, but at least get a professional opinion. Your skin care therapist will look at your skin thoroughly, asking questions about your health and family history until she has come to a conclusion. You can then discuss product usage. Sometimes, if the problem is intrinsic, meaning caused by hormones, genetics or poor nutrition, you have to see a dermatologist or doctor. One should start taking care of their skin at a young age already as aging and other problems start occurring at a much younger age as before. Years ago there weren’t so many skin problems and the use of skin products were not popular. This is only because the degree of pollution and stress were much less compared to today, thus the skin didn’t have to ‘fight’ to survive. Please keep in mind that not only the face needs attention. Our neck and hands are where the first signs of ageing become visible.

By fogcityjohn

us with HIV all know that the virus can change how we look at ourselves, but I hadn’t really expected that it would actually change how I look. I didn’t realize that HIV might rob me of the physical embodiment of my identity -- my face. I sought treatment for my lipoatrophy, but I discovered there was none to be had. No one fully understands what causes it, and so there are no therapies or cures. The only available remedy was cosmetic filler. I tried Sculptra injections, but my condition kept getting worse, and I got tired of shelling out money for a filler that wasn’t permanent. Eventually I decided to go to Tijuana for treatment with PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), a permanent filler that’s available in Mexico at a reasonable cost. Over the last three years, I’ve had three PMMA treatments. The procedure involves the injection of PMMA microspheres beneath the skin. In the weeks following the procedure, the body encapsulates the microspheres in collagen, and it’s the collagen that fills in the wasted areas. So gradually my face filled in, but my “new” face isn’t the same as the old one. The differences are mostly minor, and for the most part they’re too subtle for anyone but me to notice. In some ways, my new face is “better” than the one it replaced. Lipoatrophy has rid me of the bags around my eyes and removed the slightly sagging flesh in my cheeks. The collagen that encapsulates the PMMA microspheres is firmer than fat, so my new face has a smoother, more uniform appearance. Gone are the laugh lines and crow’s feet. They’ve been plumped up by filler. Because of the effects of the filler, most people are surprised to learn I’m nearly 50. They look at my smooth, unlined face and tell me they’d have guessed I was 40, or even 35. I’m mostly happy with the work of the plastic surgeons I’ve

You almost certainly wouldn’t notice it if you saw me, but I wear a mask. It’s not the kind you buy at the novelty store for Halloween, though. My mask is actually extremely unobtrusive. In fact, that’s its intended purpose, to keep me from standing out. You see, not long after my diagnosis, I developed lipoatrophy, a condition in which one’s subcutaneous fat -- the fat beneath the skin -- wastes away. For months I watched, horrified, “[F]or to lose one’s face is to lose one’s spirit, which is truly as my face changed before my eyes. the ‘face’, the dancing mask, the right to incarnate a spirit ... It became more drawn as my cheeks slowly melted away. My lips grew It is the veritable persona which is at stake ...” Marcel Mauss thinner, and the corners of my mouth seen. They’ve made it possible for me to conceal my illness began to turn downward. The layer of fat underneath the from the world at large and thus to escape the stigma that skin was vanishing, and with it the face that my mind had comes with looking like one has HIV. I’m not out to my come to identify as me. family about my serostatus, and the filler has kept them If you’d seen my old face, you might well wonder why anyone from suspecting that anything is amiss. For all of that I am would make a big fuss over losing it. I wasn’t what most grateful. people would call particularly handsome. I freely admit my But while this treatment has masked my illness, it can’t face wasn’t anything special in the looks department, but restore to me the thing I’ve lost -- my image of myself. Simply it was me. Over the decades, that face had become my put, I no longer look like me to me. The face I now see in the mental image of my persona. Those of mirror is not that of the man I used to recognize as myself. Continues on Page 13... October 2010

Yet I am left feeling like the victim of a robbery that no one will believe took place. I know there’s no way to recover what I’ve lost. My old face, the one I think of as the real one, isn’t coming back. Forced to choose between my mask and the gaunt, wasted look of lipoatrophy, I’ve readily chosen the mask. But there are mornings when, as I prepare to shave, I look in the mirror and I long for that old face, the one with the lines and creases, the heavy eyelids, the dark circles, and the sagging skin of approaching middle age. I yearn for the face that reflects my spirit, the one my mind still tells me is the “real” me -- the face forever replaced by this mask I cannot remove. Published with thanks to

October 2010



Mask, or, Losing Face

It is instead a facsimile of my face. It’s an excellent fake, one that’s good enough to fool pretty much everyone. Oh sure, those who haven’t seen me in a very, very long time may pause and comment that I look different somehow, perhaps thinner. My usual response is just to laugh and ascribe any perceived change to my rapidly receding hairline. So far, that’s never failed to satisfy them. Thus this mask fools everyone but me. One perverse effect of this is that it has made it almost impossible for others to understand my loss. When I try to explain my profound disappointment over the changes in my appearance, friends tend to say, “You look fine!” Or they’ll say, truthfully, that they can’t see much difference. They mean all this in a good way, and they intend their words to be comforting.


How STDs can influence your fertility By Marilize Nel Amy* walked into the clinic, clutching her purse close to her slim body. She and her husband are having trouble getting pregnant. After a year of trying without any positive results, she was directed to a private fertility clinic where they could find out why they can’t have a baby.

Are you trying to get pregnant butunable to use your own eggs? Egg Donor Services is based in South Africa and we help women both locally and internationally who are unable to get pregnant using their own eggs by finding and matching only the best quality Egg Donors. Our donors are women between the age of 20 and 29 that are educated, physically attractive and committed to helping other women. We handpick all donors and only accept those that lead a healthy lifestyle. We are linked with only the best fertility clinics and provide full support for both the donor and the egg recipient during the procedure.

With success rates of over 60%, we are proud to be part of this miracle.

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Amy is terrified: she led a very risky life when she was a teenager. She fell pregnant after her first sexual encounter. Scared that her parents will find out, 15-yearold Amy got rid of the baby. Deep in despair, she fell for a bad guy who insisted on unprotected sex. Ten years later, Amy had received treatment for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Hepatitis. When a friend took her to church in her late twenties, she immediately decided to follow the faith. She met her current husband in church and they quickly became friends. He is aware of her background and has accepted and forgiven her, but when they struggled to get pregnant, Amy started suspecting that her previous lifestyle may have left some permanent marks on her life. In fact, 25% of infertility cases in South Africa are linked to STDs. Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia are often found together and while Gonorrhoea isn’t very prevalent among the higher classes anymore, girls between 15 to 25 are the most susceptible to these diseases. If left untreated, both of these STDs can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID is an infection which often leads to blocked fallopian tubes. In a woman’s anatomy, the fallopian tube carries the fertile egg from the ovary down the tube where it is fertilized with sperm. Once the embryo is formed, the tube moves it down to the uterus where it is implanted in the wall of the uterus. If the fallopian tube can’t do its work properly, the sperm won’t be able to reach the egg to fertilize it. If it succeeds despite blocked tubes, the embryo could get stuck in the fallopian tube, causing an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is relatively common, but it is fatal to the fetus

“because the embryo is implanted in the fallopian tube and usually, the doctors take the fallopian tube out,” says Dr. Wiswedel from the Cape Fertility Clinic. “You cannot re-implant the baby somewhere else.” When PID has caused a blockage in the fallopian tubes, the only viable option to get pregnant is with the help of a fertility specialist. According to Dr. Wiswedel, “tubal surgery has been abandoned largely since about 15 to 20 years because the results are so poor.” The best prognosis for tubal surgery is a 60% chance of success if there was only mild damage. The success of the surgery can only be determined one or two years afterwards and in no way is it guaranteed.


Baby Blues The pregnancy rate of IVF treatments are so good that the tubal surgery isn’t needed anymore. IVF bypasses the fallopian tubes completely by implanting fertilized embryos directly into the uterus. “There is still a danger of having an ectopic pregnancy because the embryo can be flushed into the tubes by the currents inside the uterus,” says Dr. Wiswedel. “As a result, half a percent of IVF pregnancies will turn out as an ectopic.” While IVF is mostly used in cases of blocked tubes, egg donation is also an option. Instead of using her own eggs, the woman will then use a younger donor’s eggs to become pregnant. Most women opt to try with their own eggs first, in a bid to have their own biological children, but the success rate for three IVFs equals the success rate of one egg donation. A woman’s fertility is directly linked to her age and for this reason, a younger woman’s eggs have a higher success rate. The cost of three IVF cycles is considerably more than one egg donor cycle. One IVF cycle is about 25% less than an egg donation procedure, but three IVF cycles are needed to equal the 70% success rate of an egg donation. Simply put, it can cost around R40 000 - R60 000 more to do three IVF cycles than it would cost to do one egg donor cycle, with their success rates being equal. October 2010


“People might mistake it for a gall bladder infection and then they don’t do any further investigations and just treat with antibiotics, which will help with the Chlamydia. Only if you check antibodies for Chlamydia will you find out that somewhere in the past there was a Chlamydia infection,” says Dr. Wiswedel. While the infection may have been treated, the damage has already been done in the pelvis without anyone having a clue. PID displays symptoms like lower abdominal pain, fever, a discharge are normally present. A healthcare professional will perform laboratory tests to detect infectious processes in the body and in the pelvis. PID is treated with antibiotics to clear up the infection, but if it has been present for a long time, there will be permanent damage to the pelvic organs, especially the fallopian tubes. One in 8 couples experience infertility: they’ve been trying for more than a year with no results. Infertility can be caused by many different conditions and the blame falls evenly between the sexes. Forty percent of infertility factors are female, another forty percent are male and the last twenty percent is a mixture of the two. Since most men get symptoms soon after exposure to an STD, they usually get treated quickly and before any permanent damage has been caused. Even if there aren’t visible symptoms, regular testing should be performed. Every year, thousands of men develop epididymitis, a condition that


October 2010

causes inflammation in one of the vessels that carries semen from the testicles. This inflammation can block these vessels and cause male infertility.



Because up to 80% of women don’t show symptoms when they have an STD, it is recommended that regular testing becomes part of routine healthcare. Chlamydia, one of the leading causes of PID, is especially hard to diagnose because it usually manifests as upper abdominal pain and is easily mistaken for another infection.

The epididymes (greek for “upon the twins”) are the long, tightly coiled tubes that are located behind each testicle. If each testicle is rolled gently between the fingers and thumb, the epididymes can be felt on top of the testicle as a comma-shaped lump. When sperm are made, they enter the epididymis and are stored while they mature. They need the extra time to develop before they set out on the competitive race for the egg. Epididymitis is an infection of the epididymis and symptoms usually include a tender, swollen, red or warm scrotum, testicle pain and tenderness (usually on one side), pain during urination, sexual intercourse and bowel movements. The sufferer could also have a fever, chills, a lump on the testicle, enlarged lymph nodes, a discharge from the penis or blood in the semen. Egg donation is a relatively new procedure with the first egg donation procedure having been performed in South Africa in 1986 by Dr. Wiswedel from the Cape Fertility Clinic. The success of any in-vitro fertilization procedure depends largely on the age of the woman’s eggs. After 30 years of age, the quality of a woman’s eggs decrease rapidly and with women having babies later in life, egg donation has become an answer to the question: How can I have it all? Donors are usually young women between the ages of 20 and 30 with healthy habits and a commitment to helping other women. While some believe the compensation these women receive is unethical because it might cause them to overlook the risks, most agencies merely compensate them for their time and travelling expenses, considering that donors have to take hours off work to see the doctor and they have to travel to and from the clinic on numerous occasions. The success rate of the egg donation procedure depends on many factors, but at 60-70% it is markedly higher than a single IVF cycle (35%). The price difference between the two ranges around R10 000, with IVF being the cheaper of the two. But the cumulative pregnancy rate of three IVF cycles are needed to equal the success rate of one egg donation cycle. Most women opt for IVF for the sake of their own genetic offspring, but egg donation always remains an option if the IVF is unsuccessful.

If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor or healthcare professional immediately. Never ignore scrotal pain or swelling because a number of conditions can cause testicular pain and if left untreated, some of these conditions can cause permanent damage. Testicular torsion, caused by a twisted spermatic cord, can cause pain similar to that of epididymitis, but it requires emergency treatment because it blocks blood flow to the testicle. For young men, there is a direct link between epididymitis and sexually transmitted diseases. A recent British study found that out of young men who were diagnosed with acute epididymitis, up to 80% of their partners tested positive for chlamydia. Both partners need to be treated to get rid of the condition permanently. Young men are at a higher risk for epididymitis from STDs because they engage in high-risk sexual behaviours, such as having multiple partners, having unprotected sex or having sex with a partner with an STD. The risk is also higher if you’ve had an STD in the past. The infection may eventually cause an abscess where the infected tissue in the scrotum fills with pus, chronic epididymitis which can occur when untreated acute epididymitis leads to recurrent episodes, shrinkage of the affected testicle and reduced fertility.

The diagnosis happens on a basis of personal history and physical findings, but urine and blood tests may also be needed to pinpoint the nature of the infection. Taking care of the sensitive mechanisms in the testicles are of prime importance, so reduce physical activity, use ice packs gently to reduce the inflammation, elevate and support the scrotum on a soft pad while resting in bed. In addition, treat the condition with a course of antibiotics, followed as per the doctor’s instructions. Young men and women are most at risk for picking up an STD that might ruin their chances of having children later in life! Early detection and treatment, along with safe sexual habits, are very important to prevent problems later on. But rest assured, there is always hope for a baby through IVF and egg donation. October 2010


Can you be too honest? By Tarryn Freeme Finding out you are HIV positive is potentially one of the hardest situations anyone will ever have to deal with, but perhaps an even harder thing to do is tell your partner that you have the disease and you might have infected them. That kind of courage cannot be gathered from a mere pat on the back or a dear friend saying ‘I know you can do this’. You probably haven’t told anyone for fear of being stigmatized or worse because you realize how much there is to lose, especially if that’s your partner.

will usually go through stages similar to mourning a loss.” It is for these reasons that you need to make sure that you are absolutely comfortable in telling your partner. By telling your spouse your diagnosis, you are initiating your “partner’s own process of coming to terms with the situation,” says Ms. Bok. If you haven’t yet dealt with your own status, you can’t expect your partner to accept and understand your news immediately, let alone support you.

Your partner has a right to know, especially because it is their health you are putting at risk. There is no perfect way of disclosing your status, but each individual has to assess their relationship and determine what will work best for them.

Collecting information


Positive Dating

Having as much information about your diagnosis is essential. Although your partner might know what HIV is, people often don’t really have an understanding of it. This is partly why there is such a stigma attached to HIV-infected persons. You can print information off the internet, get pamphlets and booklets from your doctor or local clinic as well as have your doctor’s number on hand should your partner have any questions that you can’t answer. You should also be able to explain to your partner which strand of HIV you have, what the differences are, and what your current state of health is.

Make sure you are prepared According to clinical psychologist and HIV/AIDS counsellor Welmoet Bok who has a practice in Wynberg, Cape Town, “The individual needs to come to terms with the fact that they are HIV positive. This is a process and can take anywhere from six weeks to indefinitely.” “The individual also needs a space where they are able to explore the implications of their results, where they can begin the process of accepting their status, in which they

Decide on a location Once you are confident in your decision, choose a place and time where you and your partner can talk alone and in private. This may be your own home, whilst taking a walk, or a favourite nearby park. Sivuyisiwe Nobongoza, a 30-year-old full time actor who has been together with his girlfriend for nearly three years says that they would “have to do it at home, because I’d want to be in a space where we can react if we want to, with no need to have boundaries... if she wanted to scream, I’d want her to be able to be in a place where she can do that.” “It would definitely be somewhere where it was just the two of us, but I think home is always the safest place. It’s a controlled environment besides the knives in the kitchen,” Sivuyisiwe jokes. October 2010


Ms. Bok says that “the partner’s reaction needs to be anticipated and worked through. The nature of the relationship prior to the HIV positive diagnosis is important. One needs to assess the personality of the partner and the potential for violence, suicide and disclosure to other people outside of the relationship” before you decide to discuss such life-changing news.

Be completely honest Using all the gentleness and love you can summon, lay the facts out for your spouse as they are, don’t withhold anything from your partner. You will undoubtedly be asked ‘How did you get infected?’, ‘When did it happen?’, ‘How long have you known?’

It will also help you to deal with any psychological issues you might have been struggling with. “Some are concerned about secrets about an affair coming to light whilst some people might be wracked by guilt if they feel they may have infected their partner and/or their children through their own behaviours,” says Ms. Bok. Allow and encourage your partner to question you about what essentially affects them; it will also help for any future reparations that might need to be made in the relationship.

Give your partner space Allowing your partner time to deal with your disclosure is essential. Understand that your partner is reacting to shocking news and may require time on their own. Unfortunately, some relationships may or may not be temporarily ended. Regardless of the outcome, you should still be proud of yourself for making the informed decision to tell them and protect their health.

October 2010



Lastly, and most importantly, have your partner tested as soon as possible, “it would be the honourable thing to do,’ says Sivuyisiwe who also thinks that “there’s nothing worse than crying on your own.” Support them as you normally would through anything that might have frightened them, and remember that your partner is also taking a big step in their own lives.

A partner’s reaction to the ‘HIV bomb’ is completely unpredictable. Their reaction may range from an angry outburst to complete silence, understanding that whatever reaction they express is normal and vitally important. You should respect their feelings and try to be as patient and empathic as possible.

It may be difficult, but be as truthful as possible. You have taken a huge step in telling your partner, and you should let your partner know that you are sharing your news with them because you love them and care about their wellbeing.


Have your partner tested

Be prepared for their reaction

Depending on the type of relationship you have, and if your partner decides to continue the relationship, it is vital that you practice safer sex, by using condoms and ensuring that your spouse is tested every six months.

Nadja Benaissa, singer of popular German band ‘No Angels” was recently charged with aggravated assault after knowingly having unprotected sex with multiple lovers and not informing them that she was a carrier of the HI virus. The 28-year-old now faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

“People don’t leave because they can’t support their partner anymore, it’s not even because of the disease,” says Sivuyisiwe. “Often enough, they leave because that person becomes unbearable to live with, especially when it comes to self pity.” Seek help from support groups or even a qualified counsellor for your own well-being as well as for your partner and prospective relationship(s).

Although there is no specific law in South Africa on HIV/ AIDS transmission, people can still be charged through existing laws. Such was the case with a Durban woman who sued her partner for infecting her with HIV. She was granted more than R340 000 in damages as well as future medical expenses, pain and suffering and the ‘possibility of the reduction of life’. It is important to note that such charges can only be laid if the infected person was aware of their status. The South African government is concerned that this will cause less people to want to get tested and learn their status. It is usually during the confrontation that the reality of you having possibly infected your partner hits, of which then Ms Bok says “it would be a natural, normal reaction to experience extreme guilt if you have infected your sexual partner with HIV… through a personal struggle and perhaps some intensive counseling, the person may begin to work through this feeling and achieve some degree of self-forgiveness.” However, Ms. Bok also says “guilt and self-criticism are not emotions to be avoided - they indicate that a person has a conscience and cares about others.”

October 2010


Administration and Side Effects By Anzél van der Mescht History Ozone was first discovered in 1840, but was used for the first time in 1856 to sterilise medical equipment and disinfect hospital rooms. By the end of the 19th century, it was used to purify drinking water and during World War I it was used on open wounds and gushes because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Ozone (O3) is a tri-atomic molecule that consists of three oxygen atoms. It could be described as energised Oxygen, and it exists in low concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Say what?

The Power of Ozone Therapy


October 2010

The therapeutic use of medical ozone is said to kill viruses, yeast, bacteria and abnormal tissue cells. The medical value of this treatment has been the subject of many controversial discussions and numerous countries still prohibit the use of ozone therapy as treatment. There are several variations of administration, depending on your personal preference, illness or state of health.

Administration The first, most comfortable and most popular administration of ozone is through the ozone sauna. It is a soothing and relaxing steam treatment that increases your body temperature in order to make the body perspire profusely. It has a detoxifying effect and stimulates your immune system. The ozone is easily absorbed into the skin and lymphatic system, oxygenising the body’s tissue, cells and organs. The ozone sauna stimulates the release of anti-cancer substances and enhances blood and oxygen delivery through the body. Another method is vaginal insufflation. A vaginal cannula introduces ozone to the body, with no danger of pressure build-up. This method of treatment can be performed two to three times weekly, and participants have reported relief of yeast infections and STDs. Through this method, the ozone also enters your general circulation system thereby increasing blood flow. It is recommended that you do not use this method of treatment during or before menstruation. Using a body suit for ozone therapy is an easy and pleasurable method of administering the treatment. It has mostly the same effects as that of the sauna. Clients first

take a hot shower to open pores, so the ozone enters the body easily, and then they put on the body suit. The suit is sealed at the ankles, wrists and neck to avoid leakage and inhalation. The ozone has to be humidified before it can run through the body suit. Other forms of administration include ozonated olive oil, which can be swallowed or used topically; auricular insufflation – treatment through the ear canal; rectal insufflation – ozone through the rectum via catheter; “Bagging” – the isolation and treatment of separate body parts; and major autohemotherapy – ozone infused into your bloodstream.

Benefits The reported benefits of ozone therapy are endless. It is said to improve blood circulation, mental stability, mineral and vitamin absorption, metabolism, brain functionality and reaction, digestion, cellular respiration, toxin elimination and heart functionality. The therapy could relieve tension and muscle aches, neutralise lactic acid build-up, stomach acid, uric acid build-up, it may prevent constipation, allergies, colds and flu, tumours, alzheimer’s and asthma. In addition, it could eliminate worms, parasites and fungi, boost general vitality, immunity and blood flow, combat depression, infections, bronchial problems, fatigue, and also help with softening and purifying of the skin, as well as burning fat and sugar in the body, to name just a few.


The History, Benefits,

What about AIDS? “Ozone May Help Victims of AIDS” - this was the headline of a 1988 New England Medical Journal. AIDS is a virus, and ozone has virucidal, fungicidal and bactericidal possibilities. There has been growing evidence that O3 can destroy lipid-enveloped viruses inside and outside the body. This includes cancer, herpes, hepatitis and HIV. Research suggests that ozone is effective in eradicating AIDS in a test tube and in vivo (in the body). The treatment is said to revitalise the immune system and reduce the viral load. Ozone therapy does not cure AIDS; it could simply decrease some symptoms and lower HIV-related infections. The sooner you are diagnosed, the better your chances of seeing changes in your immunity. October 2010



Healthy bodies Healthy people can also make use of ozone therapy because healthy cells also need oxygen. Most infections occur because viruses and bacteria thrive in areas deprived of oxygen. Air pollution, some unhealthy food options and other harmful human habits cause cell deterioration, and oxygen is required for the elimination of toxins in order for cells not to mutate or die. Another reason why healthy people use ozone is for cell rejuvenation and, in turn, to stay younger for longer.

While ozone therapy is effective in supporting the body to fight the infection, Christi hasn’t had any clients come in suffering from AIDS or other infectious diseases. According to Christi, some clients are happier than others. “The people that believe in it walk out with no problem, they are as happy as can be,” says Christi. “I must say, it does have an effect on the softness of the skin, and I noticed that the clients who do not know much about ozone therapy commented on that first.”

Side effects Some say ozone therapy has no side effects or contraindications, but signs of headaches, numbing of the fingers and slightly impaired vision have occurred. It is advised that you do not administer ozone shortly after a heart attack, during pregnancy, during alcoholic intoxication, or if you have allergic reactions to ozone. The treatment should only be carried out by a physician or therapist. As with every medical innovation, some sceptics have crawled out of the woodwork. These people reckon ozone therapy is non-scientific and has never shown any medical benefits. They claim that it is just another expensive alternative medicine scam. The practise of ozone therapy has even been banned in some countries. Many health organisations have announced that ozone is toxic and not a remedy of any sorts.

What the therapist says…


Christi*, a therapist from a salon in Cape Town administers ozone through a sauna. She has been treating people with ozone therapy for over two years and while there is no intensive training involved, the suppliers of the machine trained them on how to use the machines to the benefit of their clients. The effectiveness of this type of alternative treatment has been questioned by many traditional healthcare professionals. “Honestly, it depends from person to person exactly how effective it is. You get people that say it’s beneficial, and some say they do not feel any changes. I think it’s a state of mind,” Christi comments. “Although, the ozone molecule takes out the free radicals of the body and it has a detoxifying effect, and that is always good.” Ozone therapy can be effective against many different conditions and illnesses. At their salon in Cape Town, Christi has mostly seen clients who use ozone therapy to aid in weight loss. “Some people come in with skin problems like psoriasis; they’ve had improvements with that,” says Christi. “Everybody has their own reasons.” October 2010

What the future holds Through the years, ozone therapy has contributed to several individuals’ improved health. The treatment is an exciting concept, despite its controversial nature. Ozone may benefit, or even cure, more and more people in the future. Ozone is neither a drug nor a magic bullet - it is a therapeutic tool of great power which can aid the body in regaining health. With the many methods of administration, everyone is sure to find a comfortable solution that would suit their needs.

HSV-2 is known to some as the “bad” Herpes virus. It almost exclusively infects the genital region and identifying it is relatively easy. It affects the body’s mucosal surfaces and sets up at the base of the spine and recurs in the genital area. The virus is usually encountered after childhood, when one becomes sexually active. A previous HSV-1 infection (cold sores) reduces the risk of subsequent HSV2 infections by 40%. Surprisingly, up to 80% of people infected with the HSV-2 virus, show no symptoms.

In today’s world, it is considered socially taboo to speak about sexually transmitted diseases. This has led to there being many misunderstandings and a lack of knowledge concerning STDs. Genital herpes and genital warts are both transmitted through sexual contact, be it vaginal, anal or oral sex. There are several causes of the diseases and different treatments for each. The good news is that these diseases can be prevented, but let’s clear the air and explain the differences and similarities between genital herpes and genital warts. Genital herpes is caused by a virus called the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), and there are two types of this virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2. Genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. The virus is transmitted through sexual contact and you cannot catch it from an object or a toilet seat, for example. Most cases of the HSV-2 virus do not cause symptoms to appear, but when the symptoms do appear, they may cause discomfort, itching and mild pain. The symptoms of genital herpes are sores that start out as little red bumps that appear in and around the genitals, which turn into blisters that could open up and ooze or bleed. The infected area could become painful and tender, and you may develop flu-like symptoms. There is currently no cure for genital herpes and having it could increase your risk of contracting HIV. There is no method to eradicate the herpes virus from the body, but antiviral and topical medications can reduce the frequency, duration and severity of outbreaks.


By Anzél van der Mescht

October 2010

Genital warts, on the other hand, are caused by a sub-type of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The most general symptoms are flesh or grey coloured warts on and around the genitalia. The warts sometimes, however rarely, appear in the throat or around the mouth. They often appear in clusters, in small or large masses. The warts are painless, but you could experience itching or a discharge. HPV can last for months, even years, without giving a person any visible symptoms, but you can still infect someone else. There are vaccines available to protect against HPV, but they are only preventative and not therapeutic. There are also several types of HPV, but not all cause genital warts. The warts can be treated in several ways, including topical creams, surgical removal, freezing using liquid nitrogen or cauterization by electric needles, but the warts may often reappear. HPV is a member of the papillomavirus family. There are nearly 200 types and most cause no symptoms. More than thirty types of HPV are transmitted through sexual contact. The virus cannot bind to live tissue; it therefore infects the epithelial tissue. HPV is the cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer. Most HPV infections in young women are temporary and are gone in one year, but if the infection persists it could lead to cancer. To our relief, a HPV vaccine is available and it prevents certain types of the virus. There are several differences and similarities between genital warts and genital herpes. Similarities include: Both are viruses, for which there is currently no cure. They are both spread through skin-to-skin contact, and can be transmitted from one partner to another even if the person infected shows no symptoms. They can be spread even

when a condom is used, and through oral sex. The immune system does help a little in fighting the virus and, in turn, the body will show fewer symptoms. Both diseases are manageable to an extent. Differences: They are caused by HPV and HSV-2 respectively, the symptoms are different – genital herpes cause red sores, which turn into blisters and genital warts cause small or large clusters of cauliflowershaped warts on the genitalia. The warts also have no significant discomfort, while herpes can cause pain, itching and bleeding. So what is the worst that could happen if you have genital herpes or genital warts? Well, genital herpes is not life-threatening. The worst thing about it is the rash and discomfort and embarrassment around having herpes. It does not cause infertility, as some might suggest. In the case of genital warts, the worst that could happen is scarring or a disastrous infection – only when you try treating the warts yourself. Always see a practitioner in this regard. Pregnant women with HPV or HSV-2 should be assured that they could have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. They can give birth without complications or infecting the baby, if there is a risk of infecting the baby through vaginal birth (because of visible outbreaks), the doctor could perform a c-section. Dr. L*, a medical practitioner in Durbanville, had the following to say about genital herpes and genital warts. “I don’t really find that patients confuse the two conditions, but many women are generally ignorant about both. There are several options for the treatment of genital warts - a cream that modulates the body’s immune response to kill the virus (used three times a week for a minimum of twelve weeks). This is my treatment of choice unless the warts are very large and extensive. Cryotherapy (freezing of warts) is another option, although it is quite painful and often requires repeat treatment; this treatment also stimulates the body’s immune response.” Electrocauterization (burning of warts) is another option for treating warts. It is usually used if very large warts are visible and the cauterization procedure is always done under general anaesthetic. “Genital warts can be cured, but there is no guarantee. People must stay aware and have the warts checked immediately if they have any suspicions. If the warts are treated when they are still small, the risk of re-occurrence is less”. “For genital herpes, an oral medication is prescribed, which is very effective if taken within 24 hours of the blisters appearing. This will reduce viral shedding between active infections and increase the periods between relapses. Herpes is not curable, the symptoms will re-occur, although use of the available antiviral drugs will shorten the duration of the infection and reduce the frequency of recurrences”. To avoid becoming infected with any genital infection, Dr. L* suggests the following: “Stay faithful to one partner, use condoms, always stay aware and, lastly, remember that spermicidal treatments do not protect against any viruses”. It is very important to see your doctor or visit a clinic if you suspect a problem. This will ensure the best treatment and more comfort for you, the patient.

Cold sores are small, slightly painful blisters that appear in and around the mouth area, or the nose. They are caused by HSV-1, as opposed to HSV2, which causes genital herpes. Cold sores are also known as fever blisters and they are very common. There is no permanent cure for the virus, but the symptoms will disappear with treatment. Cold sores are contagious and if you have a cold sore, it’s very easy to infect another person with HSV1. The virus spreads through direct contact, through skin contact or contact with oral or genital secretions like through kissing. One can also acquire the virus through child birth.




Difference between Genital Herpes and Genital Warts

When you become infected with the HSV-1 virus, it travels through your skin and into a group of nerve cells. It then “sleeps” and when it “wakes” you have a cold sore. In some people, however, it remains dormant. A cold sore can be brought about by other infections, hormonal changes and stress to sunlight, cold weather and food. There are a few natural ways to combat cold sores – you could apply a lemon balm, increase your garlic intake (garlic has antiviral properties), apply ice to ease the pain and avoid eating foods with high acidity levels and kissing people. In addition, do not touch, scratch, pick at or squeeze it.

October 2010



How teens feel about ‘the talk’ and how they cope with their inquiring minds Most teens think that talking to their parents about anything related to sex is just one of those things you classify as impossible. “My parents would kill me”, “my father would chase me out the house”, “I don’t want to talk to them about it, I don’t want them to go into detail about how I was made!” Surprisingly about 83% of kids between the ages of 11 and 18 in South Africa are afraid to broach the topic with their parents, according to a National HIV and Sexual Behaviour Survey in 2003. Even more alarming is the fact that more kids have never had ‘the talk’ with their parents.

What the Teens Want...

Even though it’s a common topic about life itself and something everyone will experience at some point in their lives, children are still brought up to believe that sex, HIV/ AIDS and STD’s are taboo topics, leaving many teens feeling that they have no-one to talk to.

“They must sit down with me and get straight to the point, giving me a clear picture of how my life would be if I indulge myself in these things”

The truth is that most parents want to help their kids make smart decisions about sex and their well-being. They know it is vital for teens to have accurate information and sound advice to aid their decision-making process, yet even parents today are scared to talk to their teens. Many parents think that if they discuss these matters with their teens, they are giving the green light for their sons or daughters to go out and engage in sexual activities. Ashley Felix, Head of the Life Orientation Department at Blaauwbergrant High School says “some of the parents are old school, they want to raise their kids in the same way that they were raised back then… Back then, we never spoke to our parents about HIV… because why would you want to speak about sex, that must mean you are having sex or are wanting to have sex?” Many teens feel that their parents are simply a ‘no-go zone’, so they turn to other people they are comfortable with and trust. A student at Blaauwbergrant commented that she would rather speak to her older siblings because “they are not that strict and they take the situation more easily. They might also find a way to explain these things to me in a caring way so that I won’t feel unwanted,” she says. 28

October 2010

Christobel Nyoni, the Student & HIV/AIDS Counselor at Blaauwbergrant High School says a lot of kids come from broken families where there is no relationship between the child and the rest of the family. They then turn to their friends and their teachers for advice and guidance. At Blaauwbergrant where the students have tight-knit relationships with their teachers and vice versa, Mr. Felix says the students mainly confide in their teachers “because it’s someone that they can trust and they try to associate more with people of their own age, and we understand the situation and they especially like the confidentiality clause.”

other…show them videos… show it like it is because these days, the kids don’t scare easily until they go through it. So you have to show them the facts, that this is what is going to happen to you if you do this.” What’s even more surprising is that teens don’t regard condoms and contraceptives as importantly as they should, not for lack of education but because they fear that their family and even friends will find out. 80-90% of the time some form of alcohol or substance abuse is present and the teens would then participate in unprotected sex because it was ‘the spur of the moment’ or something that ‘just happened’.


Not my parents! By Tarryn Freeme

“Take me to an HIV/AIDS campaign or buy me books to read instead” “I would like them (my parents) to approach me in a calm and controlled manner. They need to trust me and be open with me.” “I would like them to sit me down and speak to me like a young adult and try convince me to not have sex.” “They should get the right facts and information and then sit me down and talk to me, understanding that they should also listen to my views.” “I would like them to be supportive and address the issue like it is, with no candy coating or beating around the bush.” “They should approach me in a caring and calm way that actually convinces me that they’re looking out for my best interests and not just an opportunity to force me into obeying their rules.” “I expect my parents to show understanding and care. They need to know that it’s not easy and that their support would mean a lot. Don’t disown me or push me away when you hear the truth.”

“They ask, ‛sir, I’m feeling this feeling, this is happening...”, says Mr. Felix. “Some kids don’t even know what a wet dream is, what the process is that they are going through… you must explain it to them because their parents don’t. That’s where the teachers come in.”

Statistics released by the Reproductive Health Research Unit in 2003, show that 17-18 year-olds account for 55% of all teen pregnancies in South Africa, and that 90% of people infected with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa are between the ages of 10 and 19.

According to Mr. Felix, parents are slowly pushing their kids away, because they don’t broach these subjects with their kids from a young age, and so it seems to the child that it’s a taboo topic that should be avoided.

To help their children, parents can learn how to speak so their children will listen. They can learn to appreciate and support their children instead of reprimanding them. They can show them that they have time to consider their options and as loving and caring parents, help them make healthy decisions. They can take advantage of both and be a part of the lucky generation who listens, learns and loves wisely.

And yet, Mr. Felix says, “These days, it’s not productive to read something on a page, it just goes in one ear and out the

October 2010


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Sneak a peek into our next issue: Would you marry someone with HIV?

Sero-discordant pregnancies – a look at how to have children despite HIV Acupuncture – tiny needles can bring big change

How to circumcise safely!

Statistics on… Children, HIV and STDs ⊕⊕ 2.1 million Children worldwide are infected with AIDS – 1.8 million of these kids live in sub-Saharan Africa.


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⊕⊕ Every hour, around 31 children die of AIDS – roughly 300 000 each year. ⊕⊕ 90% of all children acquire HIV during birth or breastfeeding. ⊕⊕ One in three children living in Africa and infected with HIV dies before age one. ⊕⊕ An estimated 62% of HIV positive children are not receiving treatment. ⊕⊕ Africa has over 14 million AIDS orphans. ⊕⊕ Roughly 17.5 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents to HIV – 14 million of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa. ⊕⊕ Young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 account for 40% of new infections world wide. ⊕⊕ Children infected with HIV need between 10% and 30% more calories than those who aren’t infected. ⊕⊕ Around 48% of High School students are sexually active world wide.

Can the birth control pill increase your HIV risk?

⊕⊕ The prevalence of HIV and STDs in teenagers has dropped due to safer sex being practised, but the numbers are still high. ⊕⊕ Almost 100 000 cases of Gonorrhoea occur in people aged 15-19 years.

Hlubi Mboya, TV star and AIDS ambassador on acting HIV-positive

⊕⊕ 14 000 children between the ages of 10 and 14 have Chlamydia. ⊕⊕ In the US, around 700 children, aged 10-19, are infected with Syphilis.

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⊕⊕ An estimated 25% of adolescents develop a STD before graduating from High School. ⊕⊕ There are 19 million cases of new STD infections each year. ⊕⊕ The highest rate of STD infections is found in children aged 10-19.

October 2010



By Tarryn Freeme

Peace, Quiet… and Rooibos

Desmond Tutu, a global figure that made an extraordinary change to South Africa, bows out of public life this month to sip rooibos tea and grow old gracefully with his beloved wife. “The time has now come to slow down, to sip rooibos tea with my beloved wife in the afternoons, to watch cricket and rugby and soccer and tennis, to travel to visit my children and grandchildren, rather than to conferences and conventions and university campuses.”

These were the words uttered by the good-natured and Nobel Peace Laureate, Desmond Tutu, who announced his retirement just a few days after Nelson Mandela’s 92nd birthday. His new life, one which doesn’t involve conferences and meetings, is set to start on October 7, the day of his 79th birthday. The global figure has established a peace foundation, advised political leaders, served in a council of retired global statesmen and women as well as served as an Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town up until 1996 to mention a few. He says “I think I’ve done as much as I can, and I really do need time for other things.” Sticking true to his word of wanting to watch “rugby and soccer and tennis” Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu attended a few World Cup games, later going on to praise his fellow South Africans. “We surprised ourselves in how we accomplished the World Cup with panache…we really are amazing. Apart from welcoming the world as we did and being so efficient, despite and what many could say, because of our history which has made us reach out to others, that has left them breathless, and I think the world needs that.” Tutu, whose only hope is to see South Africa become a ‘winning country’ before he dies, announces: “If we were a film, we would be shooting for an Oscar.” “I long so much that we will become the country we have it in ourselves to become, a caring, not hugely successful, but one in which every South African feels they matter,” he said. “I would go to my grave lightly if we become a country that is caring, compassionate, gentle and sharing.” Apart from always having strived to help South Africa reach its full potential, the Matlosana (Klerksdorp) born global figure also played a part in bringing down apartheid, stating that the day he introduced former president Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s newly elected president was


October 2010

one of the best days of his life. “I said God, if I die now, I really don’t mind.”

Yet, even after triumphing in his struggle against apartheid, Tutu adds he later realized “for years I believed that the fight against Apartheid and oppression in South Africa would be my greatest battle… but now we face an even greater scourge… one that is claiming the lives of thousands of South Africans, regardless of race or social status.” Desmond Tutu was referring to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has swept across our country which motivated him to implement the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on the pursuit of excellence in research, treatment, training and prevention of HIV and related infections in South Africa. For such an iconic man, who has made a difference both nationally and internationally, Tutu joked that his only ‘little panic’ at this stage in his life was that he once wanted to become a physician, and that he always wanted to know what it would be like to be taller. For Tutu whose “voice will always be the voice of the voiceless” as dubbed by Mandela, only measures 1.65m in height, proving that size does not matter when it comes to making a difference. With regards to his health, he said although he still had prostate cancer, it was at a mild stage. “I am as fine as one could hope to be. I don’t propose to climb Table Mountain, but I’m not likely to keel over,” he joked.

Did you know:

At the age of 14, Tutu was hospitalized for 20 months after contracting Tuberculosis (TB). In the year 2008, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois in the USA proclaimed the 13th of May as national ‘Desmond Tutu Day’. Desmond Tutu is responsible for South Africa having become known as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ after he stated that South Africans are ‘the rainbow people of God.’ The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation was one of the first public clinics to offer antiretroviral therapy to those living with HIV. In 1995, Tutu was appointed the Bishop of Johannesburg, where he went on to become the first black person to lead the Anglican Church in South Africa. When Tutu turned 75, he was presented with a beautiful red rose donated by Herr Ludwig Taschner. The rose was named after him in celebration of his work for peace.

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