Swaziland is a sexy country.
Perhaps this is why, a decade ago, it lost a quarter of its population to HIV/AIDS and continues to have the highest prevalence of HIV in the world.
Perhaps this is why last week in clinic, I had an 83 year old man asking for help to maintain his erections. Or why two 73 year old wives are fighting over their conjugal rights with their husband.
Perhaps this is why a widowed 48 year old woman consults me to find a cure for her overactive libido. She wasn’t looking for companionship, didn’t want a nice cuddle; she was after bare, naked sex.
“Do you have an anti-love potion?” she asked. All I could offer was self control and that the menopause would be coming along soon.
The sexual violence service we offer to patients at our clinic is on track to see one hundred survivors of rape and sexual assault this year. I have seen patients aged from 2 to 60 years. We are just starting a 15 day national campaign to raise awareness of this issue, with a health-themed disco for teenagers in Matsapha this afternoon.
Unfortunately, I have heard that Swazis are using the lubricant from condoms as an anti-acne gel. Somehow, this myth has gone “viral” in the community. Why can’t our genuine health education messages have this kind of penetration and impact?
Men are expected to be unfaithful, and to a lesser extent, women too. Swazis are curious as to why I don’t have a secret lover, a “makwapeni” as they call it. In siSwati it means “something which goes under your armpit”. This is why people also refer to a secret lover as a “roll on”, as in deodorant (not as a “roll-on-top”, which is what I thought when I first heard the expression).
Actually, talking of armpits, mine is sore at the moment with an abscess.
At least I know that this is not a sexually transmitted affliction.