Monthly Archives: November 2016

Herbal Support for Sexual Health

Herbal Support for Sexual Health


Sexual health is an essential part of the perpetuation of any species, plant or animal. The more complex the organism, the more variables enter into successful production of progeny. There are a number of herbs that can support healthy sexual function, many of which have been known to be effective for thousands of years, confirmed by modern research.

Men’s Sexual Health

Physiological sexual arousal in men involves the relaxation of the cavernous smooth muscle for penile erection. Penile erections are dependent upon the simultaneous inactivation of outflow from the sympathetic nerves and the stimulation of the parasympathetic nerves. It has been well researched that nitric oxide (NO) is a neurotransmitter of primary importance in controlling the relaxation of penile smooth muscle. This has attracted attention to NO-dependant mechanisms as a target to boost male performance. While several synthetic compounds have been developed for the same, hazardous side effects have halted their use.

Androgens—male sex hormones—are another primary factor responsible for male performance. Tetosterone, estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, oxytocin, cortisol, pheromones are the various hormones involved in sexual function. The quantities and proportions in which they are present has a direct influence on male sexual function.

Herbs have been used in all cultures around the world to improve vigour and vitality. Natural extracts are increasingly used in the modern world to support sexual function, many of which have been found to be both safe and effective in improving sexual health in men. Extracts such as ashwagandha, Mucuna pruriensTribulus terrestris and beetroot extract have been reported to play a significant role in men’s sexual health by improving endurance, regulating essential hormones, improving sperm count and other functions related to men’s sexual health.

Women’s Sexual Health

In women, hormones play a vital role in sexual health. Loss of estrogen and, specifically, of androgens deprives them of major biological fuel. Deficiencies in testosterone level in one’s body and vaginal dryness are the physical factors that could also pose as a matter of concern. The sexual response is also coordinated by neurotransmitters, with the most studied being monoamines (such as dopamine and serotonin), neuropeptides, neurohormones (oxytocin and vasopressin) and neurotrophins.

One needs to also remember that the physiology of female sexuality is highly discontinuous during her reproductive life events such as pregnancy, puerperium and menopause due to hormonal fluctuations.

Role of hormones: The decline in the amount of progesterone as well as estrogen hormones creates a hormonal disturbance which leads reduction of female libido. Changes in the female libido happen with the fluctuations in the amount of hormones since they regulate bodily functions along with mood.

Role of neurotransmitters: One of the most well studied neurotransmitters involved in sexual arousal is dopamine. Since dopamine prevents the destruction of testosterone, it becomes important to maintain ideal levels of the neurotransmitter.

Physical factors: Estrogen deficiency during menopause or otherwise is responsible for thinning the vaginal lining. When the strength of the vaginal wall decreases, sexual arousal decreases correspondingly.

Natural extracts play as much an essential role in female sexual health as they do in male sexual health. Well recognized natural products such as Asparagus racemosusLeptadenia reticulate, gallnut extract, tribulus, fenugreek and mucuna Extract help support female sexual health through any one of the mechanisms mentioned above.

As with so many health concerns people face, there are natural herbal extracts that can support healthy sexual function safely and effectively.

Shaheen Majeed, marketing director for Sabinsa Corp., knows Sabinsa from the ground up. When he was just 17 years old, Shaheen began in the warehouse of the science-based ingredients company his father founded in 1988.

Under-age-24-your-biggest-health-risks-may-surprise you

Under-age-24-your-biggest-health-risks-may-surprise you


Young Woman Lying on Bed
Young Woman Lying on Bed

Everyone by now has heard the mantra of how important safe sex is. But a new study shows that it is actually more important than originally thought – that just one or two sexual encounters without a condom is becoming increasingly likely to spread a sexually transmitted disease, including Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer, and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which can lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Of course, those are just some of the risks of unprotected sex. We’ve long been warned about the dangers of HIV and Hepatitis, Herpes, Genital Warts, Syphilis, Gonorrhea and unplanned pregnancy, which can lead to serious physical, emotional, financial, psychological and societal fallout. With all of these dangers so well known, it seems reasonable that people would be taking more preventive steps to stop these maladies, but in a new report from a Lancet Commission, these risks continue to be major plagues of those aged 10- to 24-years-old, according to World News. John Santelli, MD, MPH, and chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said that globally, much more needs to be done to ensure the wellness of young people and prevention of sex-related concerns.

“From a life-course perspective, adolescents stand at the crossroads of the major challenges to global health: HIV/AIDS, intention and unintentional injuries, sexual and reproductive health, and chronic disease. Investments in adolescent health have the potential to alter the future course of global health. Every year of education beyond age 12 is associated with fewer births for adolescent girls and fewer adolescent deaths for boys and girls.”


While developed countries typically see less morbidity and fatality than third-world nations, it is important to note that two-thirds of the world’s youth are growing up in countries without critical access to health care, sexual education, birth control, and disease prevention. This is felt on the global level through the intense need for international charities to address concerns in these countries, but it’s not nearly enough. That’s not to say that those young people in first-world countries aren’t severely affected by poor sexual decision-making and lack of accurate sex education – it remains one of the top two health concerns for young people in Europe and the United States as well.

Of interest, and perhaps of correlation, depression is the other major health risk to young people globally between the ages of ten and twenty-four. Depressed people often have difficulty making decisions, or they may be apathetic about their future and take more risks than those who are not depressed, studies have shown. Regardless of etiology, unsafe sex is the fastest growing risk, rising from 13th place in 1990 to 2nd place in 2013, depression is no longer something that can be universally ignored: it is responsible for the “largest amount of ill health” across the world in 2013. The report stated that more than one of ten people aged ten to twenty-four is depressed globally, meaning that many social indicators such as wealth or culture may play less of a role in depression that once believed. In the United States, suicide remains one of the most common causes of death for young people.


n fact, according to the National Catholic Register, children are now more likely to die from suicide than from motor vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren, a clinical psychologist who works with adolescents, says that social media is likely a causative factor, particularly for younger teenagers. Interestingly, even third-world countries have considerable access to the internet in various locales.

“It’s clear to me that the question of suicidal thoughts and behavior in this age group has certainly come up far more frequently in the last decade than it had in the previous decade. If something gets said that’s hurtful or humiliating, it’s not just the kid who said it who knows, it’s the entire school or class. In the past, if you made a misstep, it was a limited number of people who would know about it.”


Nepal Youths Make Sexual Health Services More Accessible

Nepal Youths Make Sexual Health Services More Accessible

KATHMANDU (IDN)21-year old Pabitra Bhattarai is a shy young woman with a soft voice and a ready smile. But, ask her about sexual health services and the shyness vanishes in an instant as she speaks passionately of how youths of her country must have rights to such services.


“Our country runs on the shoulders of young people. So, we can’t risk having a country full of young people with HIV. We must have full access to sexual and reproductive health services (SRHR),” she says, suddenly sounding far more mature than her age.

Yet, rhetoric alone doesn’t define Bhattarai who is already counseling and making aware hundreds of youths – most of them high school students – in SRHR. “I have been to over 20 schools in Bhaktapur, Kirtipur and Lalitpur,” she says.

Youths for youths

On a late October morning, IDN catches up with Bhattarai and two other youths as they set out for a school to a government-run high school. The youths, trained and supported by Marie Stopes International (MSI) – a global organization working on SRHR – are part of a 10-member group called ‘Rocket and Space’ that aims to educate in and give access to SRHR to every youth of their city and region.

The youths try to flag down a taxi in Putali Sadak – a busy marketplace of Kathmandu. But soon they learn that there is a taxi strike in the city and the only vehicle available to them is a newspaper delivery van with no seats. This however fails to dampen their spirits as they readily sit on the floor of the van and start, ready for an hour-long drive to a government-run high school in Baudha neighborhood.

They have been invited by the principal of the school, Bhattarai reveals, to speak with the students in 11th and 12th grade about sexual health and hygiene. “They think we can do it better (than them),” she says with a tinge of pride in her voice.

“No taboo” education

An hour later, the three youths tumble out of the van and enter a fortress-like building of the government-run school. Sitting in two semi-dark rooms of the 3 stories building are about a hundred adolescent boys and girls. While her male colleagu Suraj meets the boys, Bhattarai and her female colleague Deepali Pradhan head for the girls room.

The school authorities have specially requested the volunteers to tell the girl students about menstrual hygiene, Pradhan informs. So, for next 45 minutes, the young women explain to their audience the process of menstruation: they start a conversation by asking the students what changes when they have their first periods.

The students typically look at each other and smile nervously. The youth workers encourage them to speak, saying, “Look, I am just like you, I am like your elder sister”. Slowly, a girl stands up and says “sprouting of breasts”. Bhattarai asks everyone to clap for student. With that, the ice begins to melt.

For the next 45 minutes, Bhattarai and Pradhan touch upon all aspects of menstruation: the expected physical changes, the cramps, the menstrual cycle and how to count it and the importance of maintaining hygiene during this cycle. “Their family members and their teachers feel embarrassed to talk about these things. And the girls also feel shy to ask. But when we talk, they listen. They think, we are their friends,” Pradhan says.

In the boys’ room, Suraj Khadka, the young Rocket and Space member, talks about adolescence, physical attraction to the opposite sex, masturbation, condoms and the importance of safe sex.

Batting for the Disabled

Dan Bahadur is 19 years old and physically challenged. Since May this year, he has been educating fellow youths with disability in his city on SRHR.

There are 3 million people with disability in Nepal today, says Bahadur, and nearly half of them young. Not long ago, they were socially ostracized, he says: “People looked down upon the disabled. They were seen as people who brought bad luck to others.” Today, however, there are special facilities for people with disability, including quota in educational institutions and government jobs.

Yet, when it comes to sexual health, the disabled people, especially youths are normally forgotten. Bahadur wants to change that, but so far, the goal has remained a big challenge. “People laugh at me when I talk of SRHR. Some think it is weird and even ask me, “do disabled people have normal sexual needs?”

There are, however, a lot of people who give him support. Many of them are from people with disability themselves, including players from the national Wheelchair Basketball Association – an institution promoting and campaigning for sportspersons with disability. Bahadur has met several players, made them aware of their SRHR rights, including contraception, abortion, counseling on sexual health and hygiene.

Nilima Raut, MSI’s Youth project manager explains, “The main slogan of the UN of Sustainable Development Goals itself is ‘Leaving No One Behind’ and in reaching out to disabled youths we are making an effort to achieve that.”

Talking Sex in a conservative society

Here are, however, challenges galore as Nepali society is largely conservative where premarital sex is a taboo. Vinuka Basnet, a 20-year old college student says that her parents were shocked when they came to know she was working as a sexual health worker. ‘They were embarrassed and afraid that now everyone would point at me and say “she talks of sex”. It took a long time for her to pursue her parents, she recalls.

Suraj Khadka says that since the school syllabus does not include sex education, students do not see his lessons as important enough. “They laugh and ask me questions that are irrelevant.” He, however, has a solution: “Let them laugh, but encourage them to ask what’s relevant to them.”

Others like Dan Bahadur often find communicating sexual health in their local language very challenging: “Take ‘nightfall’ for example. There are no synonyms for that in Nepali. Disabled youths who have spinal injury will have nightfall, but cannot feel it as they are paralyzed down the waste. It’s important for them, as well as for those who care for them to know this, so they can maintain cleanliness. But when I try to explain this, I am at loss of words,”

Youth-friendly tools

But, since success of the youth SRHR educators depends on their communication with their fellow youths, they have formulated innovative ways to overcome the communication barriers.

Vinuka Basnet shows off some of the tools that include coloured pictures of male and female anatomy and reproductive organs, posters, brightly colored T-shirts and bracelets with slogans such as “No condom, no sex” and “I am a rock star”.

They carry these tools with them at every meeting. While the posters and the pictures are used to educate the youths, the shorts and the bracelets are distributed among the attendees for positive and enthusiastic response.

Meeting the Unmet needs

Nepal legalized abortion in 2002 to achieve the MDG 5, the Millennium Development Goal 5 (to decrease maternal mortality by 134/10,000 by 2015). During the MDGs era (2000-2015), the country made significant progress and the mortality rate decreased from 581/10,1000 live births to 281/10,000 live births (National Demographic heath survey, 2011).

Yet, latest statistics show that Nepal (27.5%) still has a very high unmet need for contraception in the Asia region. In terms of unmet need indicator, at least 14% and 12% of married or in-union women of reproductive age, in Southern Asia and South-Eastern Asia want to delay or avoid a pregnancy and are not able to do. Also, almost half the population is unaware that abortion is legal in the country.

This is where the youth health volunteers are making a big contribution, taking SRHR to the most vulnerable and needy sections of the society: migrant workers, slum dwellers and young women whose husbands have gone abroad to work as migrant workers.

23-year old Kavita Chulagani is a young mother whose husband works in the Middle East as a driver. Kavita uses vaginal implants as a contraceptive, which she received for free at a clinic run by the Meryl Stopes clinic. It would have been very difficult for me to access this,” says the young mother who lives in a slum in the city outskirts, “but the youth workers directed me to this place. Now I am telling women of my neighborhood to come here too,” she says.

According to Raut, there has been over 100% increase in the demand for SRHR services since the youth project started. “There are still a lot of people to reach, but the increasing demand gives us hope,” she concludes. [IDN-InDepthNews – 24 November 2016]

Photo: Youths of Rocket and Space group in Kathmandu brainstorm on how to make their presentations on Sexual and Reproductive Rights more effective. Credit: Stella Paul | IDN-INPS

I’m Married…Do I Still Need to Get an HIV Test?

I’m Married…Do I Still Need to Get an HIV Test?


hiv-and-marriage’m willing to bet most married people don’t use condoms. As a woman I encountered while tabling at a health fair the other day might put it, “Isn’t that the whole point Marriage is about trust. Unplanned pregnancies and getting HIV shouldn’t be an issue once you’re married.” And maybe she has a point. So why can’t I help but cringe during my work day as a sexual health hotline specialist every time a caller tells me, “I’m married so I haven’t been tested in years.”?


Maybe it’s because as a married woman who has worked in the sexual and reproductive health field for almost 8 years I know that a wedding ring isn’t nearly as effective at protecting you against HIV/STIs as a condom, but before I climb onto my sex educator soapbox, I think it’s important to mention that I don’t use condoms with my husband either. However, I think what bothers me when women dismiss regular testing as a part of their sexual healthcare is the implication that getting tested must mean you don’t trust your partner or that someone has to be cheating.

Most days when I talk to women about missed periods, yeast infections and even fertility awareness as they ask for help pinpointing their ovulation so they can discover who the father of their child is (the hardest calls are the ones where I honestly can’t confirm between the two men because the sexual encounters were too close together) I’m just happy to get a woman to see a gynecologist. With more and more people being unable to afford insurance and access routine healthcare, it’s not out of the ordinary for women to tell me that the only time they see and OB/GYN is when they’re pregnant. What bothers me most about the idea that HIV/STI testing is unnecessary in a committed relationship is the idea that those things are the only reason to see a medical professional.

I still get tested regularly, and it’s not because I don’t trust my husband, it’s more so because while I’m getting my annual exam to make sure I’m free from fibroids, ovarian cysts and bacterial vaginosis, I figure why the hell not? With 14 million new HPV infections occurring each year, there’s more to maintaining your sexual health than making sure your boyfriend hasn’t “burnt” you. So please, save the “I’m married. STIs don’t happen to me” excuse for someone who thinks that moral superiority actually means anything to cervical cancer. STIs don’t just happen to promiscuous commitment-phobes, they happen to women who have been asymptomatic for years who although may be faithful to their current partner, haven’t had a pap smear in years so they don’t know they’re infected with HPV. They happen to women who don’t realize the “change in their bodily odor” is not due to age but a persistent case of bacterial vaginosis that the never bothered to get diagnosed all because they were too busy being a wife instead of a patient. And yes, they happen to women who thought that marriage was supposed to mean trust, but their husbands missed the message and have now infected them with HIV after years of infidelity.

Much like a pre-nup, if your partner has the best intentions for you and nothing to hide, an HIV/STI test shouldn’t make or break your marriage. Anyone that loves you should want you to take whatever steps you think are necessary to protect yourself without being offended. But most importantly, married or not, your love for your partner should never take priority over your respect for yourself. This is coming from a woman who STILL hasn’t managed to schedule a wellness visit for herself despite making sure hubby got his cholesterol check and my toddler got her flu shot. I get it, as a wife and mother it becomes all too easy to put yourself last and convince yourself that it’s OK because you’re “living the dream”. But don’t get it twisted: Sexual health isn’t something that ceases because homeboy decided to make an “honest woman out of you” and you shouldn’t use the comfort of marriage and kids to stop prioritizing your health as a woman.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

Image via Shutterstock

US aid for women’s sexual health worldwide under threat

US aid for women’s sexual health worldwide under threat

Under Trump, campaigners say, $600m in aid could be ‘cut drastically’, costing maternal lives, as they predict return to anti-abortion stance on health funding


Hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid that helps prevent child and maternal deaths and reduces unintended pregnancies worldwide could be at risk under a Donald Trump administration, campaigners and thinktanks have warned.

Citing “worrisome” indicators, such as Trump’s U-turn against abortion, his pledge to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court and his choice of Mike Pence, an anti-abortion activist, as vice-presidential running mate, they fear a reversal in aid commitments that have seen gains in reproductive health and gender equality.

Suzanne Ehlers, president and CEO of PAI, a global advocacy group for reproductive health, said: “What we know from Trump as a candidate is that international development is not high on his agenda.”

As the president-elect looks inwards, Ehlers said she is most fearful of the loss of the US’s position as the world’s most generous bilateral donor supporting reproductive health rights – with current funding at $600m (£474m).

“We have a long history of funding, even before President Reagan,” said Ehlers. “Reagan wanted to bring it down to zero. In Trump, we have the kind of president who wouldn’t be afraid of that kind of budget request and Republicans in Congress who would support him in that. Every year Congress has to approve these levels, and that funding can be cut drastically.

“This is not just about opposition to birth control, but about young girls being forced into marriage, about maternal deaths and about child health.”

The $600m includes money to fight against child marriage and gender-based violence. It is unlikely that it would be lost immediately, but over a period of months.

Trump’s views on US foreign aid have been relatively vague; for instance, he said in June that the US should “stop sending aid to countries that hate us and use that money to rebuild our tunnels, roads, bridges and schools”. It is unclear whether, with support in Congress to maintain it, he would make cuts in the foreign aid budget overall. However, where the money would go and what it would fund could shift, to support US trade or the anti-abortion lobby.

If, as campaigners fear, Trump’s vice-president is given leeway on this issue, he could “go for broke”, putting in place stringent anti-reproductive health measures domestically and abroad.

Pence, who describes himself as an evangelical Catholic, made his name as one of the most anti-abortion members of Congress, and, as Indiana governor, signed every anti-abortion bill on his desk, in addition to an anti-LGBT bill his critics said would allow widescale discrimination. He has argued against condoms and for abstinence as the only way to stay safe from premature pregnancy and STDs.

Serra Sippel, President of the Centre for Health and Gender Equality (Change), which aims to ensure US international policies promote reproductive and sexual health globally, is deeply worried a potential policy shift under the Trump-Pence administration that could have implications far beyond reproductive heath.

“We know that, while Mr Trump has not so much of a track record on this, his vice-president, Mike Pence, is on record as being against abortion, of supporting abstinence and of putting ideology over evidence and science and that’s very scary,” said Sippel.

“We can expect to see US aid [funds] supporting religious groups that promote abstinence and that have an anti-LGBT agenda. That’s frightening, in the context of places like Uganda, which passed an anti-LGBT law. It’s very dangerous for the US to support groups that fuel the fire of anti-LGBT rights – there are lives at risk in those countries.

“We saw this happen during the Bush administration. Because of Mr Pence’s record, we are all worried.”

Sippel also expects what is known as the “global gag rule”, a US health policy that has a chilling effect on reproductive rights, to be re-invoked and to see a withdrawal of US funding – some $32m – from the United Nations Population Fund, as it did under Bush and other anti-family planning administrations.

The policy denies foreign organisations US family planning funding if they provide abortion information, referrals or services, or if they engage in any abortion rights advocacy with their own funds. Projects on the ground are faced with a stark choice – to refuse US funding or to take the funding and to end abortion advice. First introduced by the Reagan administration, it was repealed by President Clinton, reinstated by George Bush and repealed again by President Obama.

“We expect the global gag rule to come back under a Trump president,” said Sippel. “That could happen as early as January. Our colleagues are fearful and worried about what this means for women and girls.”

The loss of US funding to the UNFPA, if it happens, Sippel said, would also represent a loss of US leadership.

“Having the US government support the UNFPA is a message to the rest of the world that reproductive rights for women and girls matter,” she said.

Analysis by the Guttmacher Institute (GI) found that last year’s US aid budget for family planning gave 27 million women and couples access to contraceptives, prevented more than 2 million unsafe abortions, 6 million unintended pregnancies and helped prevent 11,000 maternal deaths worldwide.

Sneha Barot, a senior policy manager at the GI, said when Congress or the administration has been dominated by social conservatives, they have slashed funds for reproductive health and family planning.

“There is a real fear of this funding being cut,” she said. “Women are the ones who are hurt by these sorts of policies.”

But, among some quarters, there is hope that Trump, who has in the past expressed a pro-choice stance on abortion, may have a change of heart once he is in the White House.

Katja Iversen, president of Women Deliver, a global advocacy group for women and girl’s rights, said: “We hope when Donald Trump goes into the White House he will see things differently than he has in the last while. He will be pressured from within to scale back progress on women’s rights in the US and worldwide but … he has had strong support for family planning and abortion before.”

4 reasons men who don’t watch porn are better lovers

4 reasons men who don’t watch porn are better lovers


Watching porn isn’t that harmful unless it’s not done in moderation. Most of us have watched porn at an early age and continued to do so for years. I wonder, often, why would one need to watch porn if you can enjoy actual sex? Do you need to rely on those videos to get you aroused when you have a partner to fulfill those desires? I’m not sure. But then, there are people who are porn addicts and don’t get in the mood without watching a clip or two of erotica.

Watching erotic and kinky is great for experimentation but there’s nothing more pleasing than a nice lovemaking session. Porn is for instant pleasure. There’s no emotion behind it. A few men and women I spoke to said that porn addiction can affect  sex life in  too many ways. In fact, a few men have agreed that watching no porn makes them better lovers. Here’s why:

Porn creates unrealistic expectations about your partner: Porn is scripted. The girl is all dolled up to look glamorous and hot. She’s undergone several surgeries and makeup. Real women have flaws. They may be groomed but can’t dress up and look kinky all the time. A lot of women complained of being body shamed in bed by their partners who watched too much porn. “If your partner doesn’t resemble the porn star, getting aroused gets a little difficult especially if you have watched too much porn since many years. It obviously kills the drive and affects performance in bed,” says Manish from Kolkata. Here’s how watching porn can distort your perception of reality.

Disclaimer: does not guarantee any specific results as a result of the procedures mentioned here and the results may vary from person to person. The topics in these pages including text, graphics, videos and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only and not to be substituted for professional medical advice.

Eating date fruit will increase sexual performance, libido — Experts

Eating date fruit will increase sexual performance, libido — Experts

Two experts on Monday in Lagos advised men to eat dates fruit, saying its consumption would enhance their sexual performance and increase their libido.


They told the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) that dates fruit, when taken appropriately by men, could also improve health conditions in many other ways.

Dr Aminu Kazeem, a sexual health therapist who works at Energy for Sex Clinic in Lagos said men who had performance problems should incorporate dates in their diet.

He said “a date fruit is a one-seeded fruit of the date palm tree, which is botanically known as Phoenix dactylifera and belongs to the family of Palmae (Arecaceae) plant.

“The common English names are dried dates, dates, date palm, etc; usually oblong, with varying sizes, shapes, colours, consistencies and quality.

“Eating dates will promote sperm quality and quantity as it is one of the best natural fruits used for male fertility.

“It also increases the size of testes in men and the size of breast in women.

“Consuming the fruit can help to treat sexual disorders because it is a natural aphrodisiac.”

He explained that dates contained high levels of estradiol and flavonoid which aid sperm motility and increase sperm count.

He also urged men who want to improve their masculinity to eat the fruit, stressing that “sexual health is important for both husband and wife for a good and everlasting relationship.”

A nutritionist, Mrs Toyin Adeola, also said that eating dates could treat sexual impotence, help to improve sexual activities and increase the production of sex hormones.

She added that the fruit was good for the health of both males and female.

She said “date contains many vitamins and minerals which are essential to boost sexual power even in older persons.

“The fruit is packed with amino acids for sexual stamina, as well as a good dose of fruity sugars which make them sweet.”

The nutritionist, who described the best way it could be taken to achieve best result, however,
advised diabetic patients to seek doctor’s advise before consuming dates.

She said “it is advisable to remove the seed and grind seven or eight pieces of dates and soak in water for about 2-3 hours.

“Add one glass of milk and one teaspoon of honey and drink at least once a day to boost sexual power.”

She also advised both men and women to eat natural foods that could enhance sexual stamina than taking pills made with chemicals which may harm sexual health.

NAN reports that the fruit is very popular in the market, especially where they hawk fruits.

Date fruit is popular in the northern part of the country and can be seen being hawked along with tiger nuts.

More efforts needed to improve maternal health, say experts

More efforts needed to improve maternal health, say experts

There is need to beef up efforts to promote maternal health to ensure proper welfare of women and girls so as to not only guarantee a healthy people but also the development of countries, a United Nations official has said.

Barnabas Yisa, the head of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Tanzania, was speaking during a family planning workshop in Dar-es-salaam, last week.

The three-day-workshop, organised by the UNFPA, aimed at enhancing strategic partnership for sustained media advocacy and promotion of family planning, prevention of maternal deaths and the Safeguard Young People Programme in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Yisa said expectations to have over 120 million women access family planning services by 2020 can be achieved if every country does its part.

“For UNFPA, one woman who is affected by illness or dies giving birth, that is too much so we have to ensure that this is prevented from our communities and Africa generally. We should work hard so that by 2020 much is achieved in terms of impact,” he said.

He said family planning concerns everybody and is a human rights issue that has to be respected.

“It’s very important to uphold the lives of women. Without healthy women, development can’t happen because achieving that requires the development of women too,” he added.

Adebayo Fayoyin, UNFPA regional communications adviser, said the maternal health situation in the majority of African countries requires a lot of attention, noting that challenges were still being faced in the area due to various issues at the service provision, policy and programme levels.

Fayoyin also faulted humanitarian issues, saying many countries go through crisis that greatly impact the health of girls and women. He advised governments to take the necessary steps required in addressing such matters and not using the one-size-fits-all way of dealing with issues.

Tlangelani Shilubane, the project coordinator of prevention of maternal deaths initiative in UNFPA, said the project is one that really contributes to the bigger goals of UNFPA.

She said steps are being taken to ensure that the project achieves its desired objective of ensuring good maternal health for women and girls.

“We are training health workers on how to deliver quality services, and doing capacity building and have already started with countries like Botswana, Lesotho and Malawi,” Shilubane said.

Country situation

Maureen Twahirwa, the head of communications UNFPA Rwanda, said Rwanda is doing well in maternal health in comparison with some African countries.

“Family planning is still an issue, people haven’t yet embraced it well but as with maternal deaths the situation is progressing and this has been possible because of the systems and policies that have been strengthened,” Twahirwa said.

Kefilwe Kuugutsitse, adolescent, sexual and reproductive health specialist at UNFPA Botswana, said the Southeran African country is still experiencing the issue of maternal deaths mainly due to poor care at the health centres.

“The deaths are mostly between the ages of 25-35 and this is also the group with highest prevalence HIV rates,” Kuugutsitse said.

Phumzile Dlamini, UNFPA head of communications, Swaziland, also said maternal death ratio remains high in Swaziland despite the fact that most people do attend their antenatal care and ensure to deliver within health facilities.

Maximizing the potential of a new HIV prevention method: PrEP

Maximizing the potential of a new HIV prevention method: PrEP


Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)most often a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine taken orally as a daily tabletis extremely effective at preventing HIV infection when taken regularly.

The choice of PrEP is recommended for people who are HIV-negative but at high risk of becoming infected. The people who can benefit most from PrEPincluding gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, serodiscordant couples before the partner living with HIV becomes virally suppressed and young women and girls in the areas of sub-Saharan Africa most affected by HIVare located where there are high rates of untreated HIV and inconsistent condom use.

People starting on PrEP must be HIV-negative and undergo repeat HIV testing every three months. The side-effects of taking PrEP are usually mild and short-lived. The risk of developing resistance to PrEP medicines is extremely low, as long as the person is confirmed to be HIV-negative when starting PrEP.

In the past two years, PrEP roll-out has moved quickly. It is estimated that in October 2016 around 100 000 people were using PrEP in more than 30 countries, with the majority of users in the United States of America. The UNAIDS target is for there to be 3 million people on PrEP worldwide by 2020.

There are now active national PrEP programmes in Australia, France, Kenya, Norway, South Africa and the United States. Botswana is pursuing regulatory approval and creating an implementation plan, while Thailand and Zimbabwe are among other countries producing guidelines for PrEP roll-out. In addition, more than 20 projects around the world are exploring the use of PrEP.

However, even where there is an existing national programme, PrEP uptake is unequal and the people who would benefit most do not always gain access. Many activists in the AIDS response continue to criticize this inequality. “PrEP is powerful, it has to reach the disempowered,” said Nel Gordon of the Human Rights Campaign.

PrEP adds to the package of proven prevention options already available. PrEP should be used in conjunction with other prevention methods, such as male and female condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision and antiretroviral therapy for all people living with HIV. When antiretroviral therapy is effective in a person living with HIV, the virus becomes undetectable in the person’s blood and the risk of transmitting the virus to a partner approaches zero. No single HIV prevention method is 100% protective and PrEP does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections or prevent unintended pregnancy. Condoms remain the most widely available and affordable HIV prevention tool and as such should always be promoted along with PrEP.

The benefits of choosing PrEP can be psychological as well as physical and the use of PrEP may counter the anxiety and isolation felt by some people who feel they lack the ability to control their risk of exposure to HIV. PrEP can give people more autonomy about their sexual decision-making, which may also include risk reduction. PrEP may promote improved communication and intimacy with a partner, reduced fear of intimate partner violence, raised self-esteem and greater engagement with all aspects of sexual health.

Offering PrEP can encourage more people at the highest risk of HIV to attend HIV clinics, undergo HIV testing and access either PrEP or treatment depending on the test result. Either way, the outcome is good for the individual and good for HIV prevention.

PrEP gives us one more tool that we can use to better tailor the prevention package to each person’s individual needs, which can change over time. PrEP is not for everyone and is not for ever. Routine PrEP follow-up involves regular review of broader sexual health, including the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and discussion of appropriate combination HIV prevention strategies and contraception, as appropriate.

Negative Attitudes Slow Acceptance of Bisexuality

Negative Attitudes Slow Acceptance of Bisexuality

By Rick Nauert PhD

Although positive attitudes toward gay men and lesbians have increased over recent decades, a new study shows attitudes toward bisexual men and women are relatively neutral, if not ambivalent.


Researchers at Indiana University Center for Sexual Health Promotion say their study is only the second to explore attitudes toward bisexual men and women in a nationally representative sample. Investigators define bisexuality as the capacity for physical, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to more than one sex or gender.

The study is also the first to query attitudes among a sample of gay, lesbian and other-identified individuals (pansexual, queer and other identity labels), in addition to those who identify as heterosexuals.

The study, led by Dr. Brian Dodge, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Health Science and associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, was recently published in PLOS ONE.

The nationally representative sample was taken from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion’s 2015 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior.

“While recent data demonstrates dramatic shifts in attitude (from negative to positive) toward homosexuality, gay/lesbian individuals, and same-sex marriage in the U.S., most of these surveys do not ask about attitudes toward bisexuality or bisexual individuals,” Dodge said.

“And many rely on convenience sampling strategies that are not representative of the general population of the U.S.”

The study looked at five negative connotations, found in previous studies, associated with bisexual men and women — including the idea that bisexuals are confused or in transition regarding their sexual orientation, that they are hypersexual and that they are vectors of sexually transmitted diseases.

The research showed that a majority of male and female respondents, more than one-third, were most likely to “neither agree nor disagree” with the attitudinal statements.

In regard to bisexual men and women having the capability to be faithful in a relationship, nearly 40 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.

Those who identified as “other” had the most positive attitudes toward bisexuality, followed by gay/lesbian respondents and then heterosexuals.

Age played a factor in the results, with participants under the age of 25 indicating more positive attitudes toward bisexual men and women. Income and education also played a role: Higher-income participants were more likely to report more positive attitudes toward bisexual men and women, in addition to participants with higher levels of education.

Overall, attitudes toward bisexual women were more positive than attitudes toward bisexual men.

“While our society has seen marked shifts in more positive attitudes toward homosexuality in recent decades, our data suggest that attitudes toward bisexual men and women have shifted only slightly from very negative to neutral,” Dodge said.

“That nearly one-third of participants reported moderately to extremely negative attitudes toward bisexual individuals is of great concern given the dramatic health disparities faced by bisexual men and women in our country, even relative to gay and lesbian individuals.”

Bisexual men and women face a disproportionate rate of physical, mental, and other health disparities in comparison to monosexuals — those who identify as exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual, Dodge said.

Although research has not determined the cause, Dodge said that negative attitudes and stigma associated with bisexuality could play a role.

Data from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior shows that approximately 2.6 percent of adult men and 3.6 percent of adult women in the U.S. identify as bisexual.

For females, that number is more than double the number of women who identify as lesbian, 0.9 percent. When it comes to adolescents, 1.5 percent of male adolescents (age 14 to 17) and 8.4 percent of female adolescents identify as bisexual.

Dodge said he hopes the results emphasize the need for efforts to decrease negative stereotypes and increase acceptance of bisexual individuals as a component of broader initiatives aimed at tolerance of sexual and gender minority individuals.

“After documenting the absence of positive attitudes toward bisexual men and women in the general U.S. population, we encourage future research, intervention, and practice opportunities focused on assessing, understanding, and eliminating biphobia — for example, among clinicians and other service providers — and determining how health disparities among bisexual men and women can be alleviated,” he said.

Source: University of Indiana