Lagosians Now Fear Sex Because Of Ebola!

By on August 17, 2014
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For many in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, the fear of Ebola has become the beginning of wisdom. Even when it involves matters related to sex and intimacy.download32

On a dark Wednesday night, the ever-busy Allen Avenue, in the heart of Ikeja, the state capital, provided a glimpse of how much the fear of the Ebola Virus has impacted on sex life in the part of the city that usually never sleeps.

Usually, it is a common sight to find skimpily dressed ladies of different shapes and sizes soliciting customers at night.

However, in the wee hours of that night, at one of the famous spots for such activities, only a few men were seen hovering under the cover of darkness to satisfy their sexual urges. This was despite the impressive number of commercial sex workers at the junction.

“I drove past this spot with some friends around 11pm and three hours later, I still met the same women waiting for customers at the same spot,” noted a middle-aged man who didn’t want to give his name.

He said the moment the sex workers saw their vehicle stop; they rushed onto them.

“Suddenly, they struggled among themselves to be the first to reach us when we stopped the car. It was clear the ladies were desperate to make money that night,” he said, but declined to comment if he took any of the sex workers home.

A commercial sex worker in the vicinity, who simply gave her name as Linda, said patronage has reduced since the outbreak of Ebola.

She said, “People are afraid to patronise sex workers nowadays because of this Ebola thing. There was one incident that happened a few days ago when a man came to patronise one of us. He started touching the woman but she snubbed him, saying that she didn’t want to be caressed with his hands. When he said they should have sex, she said she preferred to do it fully dressed up and if he must use a condom.

“It is possible to have sex and not sweat. Also, the cold weather is good for sex at this moment. So, I usually tell my friends that during this period of Ebola outbreak, they should ensure they always use condom for protection and avoid the man’s sweat from touching them. Also, they should not do it in the dark, but put on the light so that they can see if the man is sweating or not.”

Linda further said she advises her friends to ensure that a ceiling or standing fan is switched on during sex and the man should also avoid going ‘extra rounds’ because the exertion would make them sweat. “Though I think there needs to be more awareness and sensitisation on this issue,” she added.

For businessman, Mr. Godfrey Okosun, he said avoiding sex during this period is advisable because of reasons of infidelity.

“One may be faithful to his or her partner, but the partner may not be faithful. In that case, one may be at risk of not knowing the escapades of the other partner. So, I would advise people to avoid sex all together. And it’s the same rule that I apply to my sex life during this period,” he told SUNDAY PUNCH.

A civil servant, Ms. Gloria Akpandu, said it depends on the individual to decide whether to have sex or not during this period.

“I don’t know much about the Ebola symptoms, but from what I have heard so far about avoiding body contacts such as handshakes, kissing and hugging, I have not had any intimate relationship with my boyfriend since Ebola found its way into Nigeria. Although I still think it depends on the couples in question,” she said.

For IT specialist, Mr. Adebola Sola, who is married, whether couples should have sex during this period is a non-issue. “We are happily married, so, I shouldn’t be bothered about Ebola Virus because, not only are we faithful to each other, we also observe the necessary precautionary measures in terms of hygiene and safety,” he said.

This may be the reason why Infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Joseph Onigbinde, said the Ebola outbreak could have been blown out of proportion in relation to sex and intimacy.

He said, “On the issue of sex, anyone who is infected with Ebola becomes symptomatic; the person would start showing the symptoms, such as a high temperature, vomiting, stooling and bleeding from the gums, and so on. So, it would be difficult and frustrating to even have sex with such a person. And transmission of the disease happens when the infected person becomes ill.

“But there are a lot of misinformation and misconceptions flying around about the Ebola Virus, such that people don’t even want to visit hospitals, as if hospitals were the source for Ebola. No doubt the Ebola Virus Disease is deadly, but to say that a husband and wife, that are not infected, should not copulate is ridiculous and laughable.”

According to the World Health Organisation, the EVD, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

It said, “Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

“Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.”

The statement further said, “Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks after recovery from illness. Healthcare workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD. This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practised.”

The symptoms of Ebola include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, vomiting, sore throat, headache and, in severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.

WHO noted that people are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. “Ebola virus was isolated from semen 61 days after onset of illness in a man who was infected in a laboratory,” it added.

The incubation period or time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is two to 21 days.

Onigbinde said, “Although Ebola is contracted through bodily fluids, such as saliva, sweat or semen, it is only those who are infected that pose a threat and can transmit it. Simply having sex with someone doesn’t mean that that person would contract Ebola. These are unnecessary fears. It doesn’t stop a married couple from having sex, except one of the partners is already infected with Ebola.”

He further advised couples to take necessary precautions and maintain good hygiene.

“People should not panic. Basically, they should follow the necessary hygiene and safety procedures; wash their hands regularly with soap/detergent and water, and if they can afford sanitisers, it is okay, otherwise the normal soap and water would do,” he added.