Last Christmas was a special time for Manthabiseng. Her husband came home from the mines. It was special because he did not come the year before. They made him work.
Manthabiseng and her husband spent two wonderfuI weeks together – it was just like when they were first married. Then Manthabiseng’s husband left. And the long, lonely wait began all over again.
Manthabiseng felt sad – just like she always did when her husband went back to work. But this time she felt a little different. Something was wrong.
She did not enjoy sleeping with her husband in those few days just before he left. Her private parts felt sore. She did not feel very good.
Manthabiseng decided to wait. Maybe the pain would go away. But the pain did not go away. A week later she felt even worse.
Manthabiseng went to the hospital. The doctors told her immediately what was wrong. They said she had a sickness from sleeping with men. Mathabiseng felt ashamed and insulted.
She told the doctors about her husband’s visit. The doctors told her all about the sickness. They said that her husband had caught the sickness from another woman. He then passed the sickness onto her.
The doctors gave Manthabiseng pills, She took the pills and was soon better. But even to this day, she is still angry with her husband. She still feels hurt.
Manthabiseng had a disease called “veneraI disease” – or just V .D. Sometimes people also call it “vuilsiek”. Other people call it the Disease of Love.
WHAT IS V.D.?
V.D. are diseases that are spread through sex. Anyone who sleeps with a person with V.D. will get it – just like Manthabiseng. The diseases are only spread through a man’s penis or a woman’s vagina. You will not get V.D. from toilet seats, doorknobs or towels.
There are many kinds of veneral diseases and most of these diseases have difficult names. Many of us have heard of syphilis and gonorhoea. These are just two kinds of veneral diseases. But there are many other kinds of veneral diseases – like trichomoniasis, herpes, chandhroid, crabs.
WHO GETS V.D.?
As we said, anyone who sleep with a person who has V.D. will also get V.D. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, young or old, you will still get it.
But if you have sex with lots of people, you have a bigger chance of getting it. It’s like one doctor said: “If you cross a road ten times, you have more chance of getting knocked down than if you cross it once.”
In South Africa V.D. is a problem because it can spread very far. Many workers are migrant workers like Manthabiseng’s husband. Many of these men get V.D. in the towns and take it back to their wives in the “homelands” .
And many people do not have the money to go to a hospital or clinic. Many people live far away from clinics and hospitals. And so all these people do not get the pills they need. And without pills or other medicine, V.D. will not go away. It will only get worse.
THE DANGERS OF V.D.
V.D. is dangerous for both men and women. If you don’t go to a doctor, the V.D. will get worse and worse until you may never be able to make or have a baby. Ever again.
With woman, V.D. can be really dangerous. Sometimes women don’t know that they have V.D. They can’t see or feel anything. So if a woman thinks she may have V.D., or if she thinks there is chance that she may have it, that woman should try to see a doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If a pregnant woman has V.D., it is also bad news. She can lose the baby. Or the baby can be born blind or with a chest disease. The baby may even die after birth.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE V.D.?
You may have one of the kinds of V.D. if one of these things is wrong with you.
If you have discharge. You have a discharge when you leak from your penis or vagina. In men the discharge is like water or it will be a dirty; yellow colour. The discharge from women is mostly white in colour. But it can be different colours. Some discharges have a horrible smell
If you have a sore, a blister, or a pimple on your vagina or penis. All these things can mean V.D. Only a doctor can tell what kind of V.D. you have. But a sore is not good because one of the most dangerous kinds of V.D. makes a sore. This type of V.D. is called syphilis. The sore is not painful and it often goes away. But this does not mean that the syphilis has gone. If you do not see a doctor, the syphilis will stay with you – and you wiII get very ill.
If you have warts on your vagina or penis. Warts are a kind of V.D. These warts are very catchy but they are easy to cure. Sometimes warts can also mean that you have a cancer. And the sooner you find out that you have cancer, the better. So if you have a wart, always go and see a doctor.
If you have crabs. Crabs are tiny insects like lice that live in the hair around your private parts. You can’t see the crabs but you wiII see the eggs – they look like white powder. Crabs make you very itchy and they are passed by sex.
If you feel pain when you have sex.
If your private parts get itchy, or burn, or swell up.
If you get pains in the lower part of your body.
If you get itchy eyes and sores on your body. Sores on your body can mean V.D. – even if your private parts feel fine.
If you feel pain when you have a piss.
If you think your lover may have V.D. then you also may have it.
WHAT MUST YOU DO IF YOU HAVE V.D.?
If you think that you may have V.D go to a doctor, hospital or clinic. And do yourself a favour. Don’t waste any time and get there fast. V.D. doesn’t go away by itself.
And don’t worry about any doctor telling the world that he saw you with your pants down. Doctors never talk about their patients. And anyway, doctors see this kind of thing every day. Sometimes even before breakfast. So don’t be shy.
And when the doctor gives you pills, take all the pills. If you think you are better, you must still finish all the pills. Otherwise the V.D. will come back. And it will be worse than last time.
HOW TO KEEP AWAY FROM V.D.
The best way to keep away from V. D, is not to sleep with too many people. That is by far the best way.
If you have V.D. don’t” sleep with anyone. If you do, that’s not nice. It’s a low down thing to do. So wait until you are better. It’s only fair.
If you find out that you have V.D. after you sleep with somebody, go and tell that person. And take each other to see a doctor.
If men wear condoms or “rubbers” they will have a smaller chance of getting V.D. – and spreading V.D.
And remember: Sex should be clean, healthy and fun. Keep it that way .