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Love is ‘self-care’ this Valentine’s Day<span><p>February is synonymous with the ‘month of love’, but also happens to be the time when sexual and reproductive health awareness features on the national health calendar.</p><p>Not only is it Reproductive Health month, but we also mark STI/Condom Week and Pregnancy Awareness Week. </p><p>It is an opportunity to reflect on gains made in terms of the sexual and reproductive health of our city, but also the challenges that remain, and to reinforce messaging that promotes healthy lifestyles.</p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="http://resource.capetown.gov.za/cityassets/Media%20Centre/condoms.jpg" alt="" style="width:722px;" /> </figure></span><span><p><br>In the last financial year (July 2018 to June 2019), City Health distributed just over 46 million male and female condoms. We provided family planning services to nearly half a million clients, and nearly 60% of them opted for the three-month injection which ensures fewer visits to the clinic. </p><p>City Health also enrolled nearly 55 000 expectant women in our Basic Antenatal Care programme. The programme supports the health of the mom-to-be, but also her unborn child. Currently, 68,7% of expectant women register before 20 weeks of gestation, which is a very encouraging statistic, but ideally all women should book before 14 weeks.</p><p>However, despite the statistics and the gains made in advancing sexual and reproductive health, we continue to be dogged by stigma around sex and the reticence still to speak openly about these issues.</p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="http://resource.capetown.gov.za/cityassets/Media%20Centre/sexual%20health1.jpg" alt="" style="width:949px;" /> </figure></span><span><p>Young women 19 and under made up just 16% of all family planning clients in 2018/19 –  no change from the year before. </p><p>While abstinence does afford the best form of protection, the reality is that many of our young people are sexually active and it is important to take ownership of their well-being by not relying on their partners to use condoms. </p><p>City clinics provide services and medication free of charge, and more facilities are starting to have dedicated time slots for youth-related health services. </p><p>Our staff also do a number of sexual health outreach activities and events in communities, but not everyone is open to hosting these sessions.</p><p>So I want to urge anyone who is sexually active or considering it, anyone planning a pregnancy or who is already pregnant to visit their nearest clinic for the appropriate healthcare guidance and advice. </p><p>Regular health tests are also encouraged for those who are sexually active, or before you have sex. Much of the focus is on HIV/AIDS, but there are a number of Sexually Transmitted Infections like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Herpes, to mention a few, that can cause health complications. </p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="http://resource.capetown.gov.za/cityassets/Media%20Centre/sexual%20health2.jpg" alt="" style="width:946px;" /> </figure></span><p>This February, City Health would like to promote 10 steps to ‘self-care’ for sexual and reproductive health: </p><p style="text-align:left;">1. Knowledge is power, so visit your nearest clinic for advice and information. Visit the City’s website if you need help finding a clinic  </p><p style="text-align:left;">2. Do not engage in sexual activity or succumb to peer pressure if you feel you are not ready</p><p style="text-align:left;">3. Never have unprotected sex</p><p style="text-align:left;">4. Do not rely on your partner to provide protection – protect yourself</p><p style="text-align:left;">5. Birth control does not prevent STIs - always use a condom too</p><p style="text-align:left;">6. Get tested for STIs, including HIV, and insist your partner or potential partner does the same</p><p style="text-align:left;">7. Consider using PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis,  a tablet to prevent getting HIV, which is available from some NGOs and at some clinics)</p><p style="text-align:left;">8. If you test positive, start treatment at your local clinic immediately and complete the course (treatment for HIV is lifelong)</p><p style="text-align:left;">9. Be honest and inform your sexual partner/s</p><p style="text-align:left;">10. If you are pregnant, enroll for Basic Antenatal Care (BANC) at your local clinic as soon as possible </p><p><br><strong>End</strong><br></p><span>​​</span><span>​​</span><span>​​</span>2020-02-12T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#36e6b089-a680-400b-9540-22addf6fa839;L0|#036e6b089-a680-400b-9540-22addf6fa839|condoms;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#5fb0fd45-1240-41c9-aaeb-627cbd4a11ab;L0|#05fb0fd45-1240-41c9-aaeb-627cbd4a11ab|Health;GP0|#0b858893-1ef6-46d3-9364-6c1c772e881d;L0|#00b858893-1ef6-46d3-9364-6c1c772e881d|Clinics1

 

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