STDs and rising trend of prostitution in Lagos, Ogun metropolis

There is this notion that prostitution is as old as the world itself. The Bible is even littered with proof of this argument. From Rahab to Tamar, there were even male prostitutes during the reign of king Asa and even Prophet Hosea was ordered by God to marry a prostitute, Gomer.

However, during this period, the emergence of HIV/AIDS and other sexual related diseases have not come into play. According to Global information and education on HIV and AIDS, Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and one of the highest rates of new infection in sub-Saharan Africa. Unprotected heterosexual sex accounts for 80 per cent of new HIV infections in Nigeria, with the majority of remaining HIV infections occurring in key affected populations such as sex workers.

Science has since stated that condoms may help reduce the spread of STI but the most effective way to avoid HIV is by total abstinence.

However, with the increase in poverty, lack of good education, unemployment, peer pressure, laziness and other reasons, ladies engage in prostitution. This increase has also led to the increase of sexually transmitted diseases.

In the Gor, a motel along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, a sex-worker, simply known as Ay (not real name), stated that many times “customers” have accosted her requesting for oral sex. According to her, she has never agreed to such demands except once.

She said: “This particular person was sexing with condom but he no gree release, he come say make I comot am so that e go quick release and he said him go add more than the money wey him give me before.

“I told him that I am scared and I no wan get any infection. Another person meet me tell me say him no wan use condom and I told him I have female condom and when he was releasing, him come release blood. I come tell am say I go shout o, I go call girls, him come bribe me with another extra money. Everything way him give me that day was N7,500. Just for short rest; which was not even up to 30 minutes.”

While Ay was lucky, Bisi, who is also a sex worker in Sparklight, a motel in Ketu, was not so lucky. She narrated her ordeal on how she accepted to have oral sex with a customer and few days later she noticed that her private part began itching her. She went to the hospital and after series of tests was done on her, she had an infection and she vowed never to allow sex without protection again.

Baraka (not real name), who stays in Omolayo Hotel, in Ibafo, Ogun State, stated that she had allowed “customers” to have sex with her on few occasions because, according to her, she knew them, but when she had to go to the hospital to treat an infection, she vowed to stop her recklessness.

Another sex worker, who simply addressed herself as Uzoma, who plies her trade along the railway in Oyingbo in Lagos, stated that men are like children who will always like to experiment with new toys (try out little new things), so it is not surprising to see customers demand for no condoms or oral sex.

At the market and motor park in Lagos before under the bridge in Ikeja, the fusion of both the market and the activities of the drivers and the conductors loading their vehicles, a passerby will not easily decipher that the busyness of the area during the day is quite different from its activities at night. In the evening, when the drivers and the market women must have retired to their homes after the day’s work, another set of “traders” emerge. Their spaces, hitherto covered by the buses.

Amaka and Uju are sex workers in this area and they stated that it is not something new and many of them in the business accept such request from their customers, particularly if the pay is good and they make sure they get themselves some drugs to wipe away any infection immediately after the act.

At Okelewo in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at a bar known as 3HD, a sex worker simply known as Mayowa asserted that she always makes use of condom to avoid any medical issues.

However, Success, who is also a sex worker along Ipodo Street in Ikeja, Lagos, stated that she has always objected to sex without condom because, according to her, condoms alone do not solve all the problems at that. She stated that the condoms have some chemicals enmeshed in it and as sexual workers, the more they are exposed to these chemicals through condoms, the more they are endangered.

And medical experts have since collaborated that claim that constant usage of condoms leads to dermatitis or skin irritation, which is due to latex sensitivity or allergy and there is also tendency to reactions to spermicides, lubes, scents and other chemicals in the condoms. Collaborating these claims, Dr. Theophilus Adewale, a medical consultant at Beachland Hospital, stated that some persons who react to latex and other ingredients used in the production of condoms are likely to have an after effect from frequent usage.

However, despite the fact that a few percentage of people may be allergic to latex (condom), there is still an immense advantage in the usage of condoms as they help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections like HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.