By Nathan Ohiomokhare

During a lecture on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) at the West Africa Post Graduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) some years ago my lecturer described symptoms an adult married male patient was experiencing involving painful urination, whitish milky discharge from the urethra and fever. He wanted the class to deliberate on the possible diagnosis and recommend drugs to cure the infection and alleviate the symptoms. After being satisfied with the various spectra of antibiotics recommended by the class depending on results of culture and sensitivity tests he decided to move onto another topic. But suddenly he froze as if reflecting on something. Then he wondered for a bit and asked as if pondering the previous question all over again  "but why would a married man have an STD?". The class was silent for quite a while. Nobody really wanted to respond the obvious and say "because the married man went to play away match." Probably because the lecturer didn't seem to have much of a sense of humor. After all why would he ask such a question with an obvious answer. This man is just looking for trouble for nothing.

Since no one was willing to 'Bell the Cat' I decided to give him a seemingly harmless answer. Worst case scenario, the class will laugh at me. I responded "Sir, maybe his wife used a public toilet in an office and has a toilet infection". The look on his face was one of satisfaction as he responded "true, that's quite probable".

But another more likely probability is that the man chose to play an "away match" as stated earlier. The risk is that he will infect his wife. The cost to the family is that both husband and wife will have to be treated for sexually transmitted diseases. Also the psychological cost could be huge.

I have seen situations where a husband complains of symptoms of an STD and is suspecting that the wife played "away match" or wife complains of symptoms of an STD and suspects that the husband played "away match". I have had to counsel someones husband or someones wife that their symptoms did not absolutely imply that they got the infection from their spouse and even if they did it in no way implies that the spouse is "playing for another club". This is not football where players get temporarily transferred on loan for a short time. But in our world of today we have to be straight with ourselves, infidelity is rife and the implications of having unprotected sex go far beyond damaging the relationship.

Research gathered by the Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) says that 25% of Nigerian Teenagers are sexually active with age of sexual debut ranging from 10 to 25 years. Also statistics shows that this same group of teenagers between the ages of 10 and 25 years of age have testified to having unprotected sex. This practice also exposes them to Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV with a prevalence of 17% among adolescents in the southeastern Nigeria and 14 % in Northern Nigeria. Further studies have shown that amongst these Teenagers unsafe sex is a common practice resulting in unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Unsafe sex usual results from :

- Non use of a Condom
- Improper use of a Condom
- Damage to condom during use (tear)
- Use of substandard condoms subject to easy tear.

Also females are sometimes unable to access a contraceptive due to location, lack of affordability or they may purchase substandard contraceptives many of which are usually in circulation. The result is an unwanted pregnancy.

Now one of the major implications of these statistics is that the person you are attempting to have unprotected sex with has most likely been having unprotected sex with someone else who is in turn having sex with someone who is having sex with someone and so on and so forth. There is a one in four chance that your girlfriend or Boyfriend is having unprotected sex with someone else. Its a merry go round.

Additional implications of having unprotected sex are :

- recurrent and untreated STD s in men which can lead to infertility.
- recurrent and inadequately treated STD s in women which can lead to infertility

We all know that before you use a product you read the user manual or guide. So before you have sex without protection it is necessary you read this users guide.

So when next you want to have sex without protection read this manual and think again.


Aloysius O, Chiemezie S., Ijeoma I, Ngozi J.I, Nkechi G.O, 2020, Risky sexual behaviours among adolescent undergraduate students in Nigeria: does social context of early adolescence matter?, Pan African Medical Journal, Accessed at  on 6th February 2021.

Okonkwo A.D, 2013, Generational Perspectives of Unprotected Sex and Sustainable Behavior Change in Nigeria, Sage Journals, Accessed at on 6th February 2021.

Vanguard New, 2017, 25% of Nigerian adolescents are sexually active — NURHI, News, Vanguard, Accessed at on 5th February 2022


  1. Thia piece is apt but something baffles me. It’s this syndrome of ‘substandard everything’ in Nigeria. When we still grapple with many Nigerians getting proper treatment for problems such as STIs (rather than single dose beecham ampliclox), why should fake condoms or fake drugs be allowed to obfuscate successful treatment of an ordinarily treatable infection.

    I think we also need to address the problems of fake pharmacists (who practice irrational medication use), fake agencies (which allow substandard products in circulation) and fake people who continue to deal in and patronise fake merchandise to the detriment of our health and economy as a nation. It’s high time pharmacists upped their games in combating counterfeits in every nook and cranny of the pharma-industry. If we don’t, antimicrobial resistance will be the least of our problems! As we can see, complicated infections and infertility are some of the attending challenges we are now facing sequel to unsuccessful treatment of STIs..

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