Eradicating the taboo
Before I start discussing, I want to highlight here, I wrote something here with my little medical knowledge but still with the knowledge. This was not to read by someone who are still living under the coconut shell. This is educational thing for us to think. And nothing here is final, one will have different opinion.
To talk about sex openly is no big deal for us in School Of Medicine. We have to learn and know everything. And we have to practice not to shy when we talking about sex. It’s a taboo thing for most people in Malaysia. I taught people are more open minded nowadays but still many people labeling sex as a taboo thing. During the convocation weeks, a security guard come to our Medical School booth and asks about HIV. So as a person who know a little bit more, so we did told him on HIV. What distracting me was when I said sex, the guard become shy and even tries to stop me from talking by using finger sign.
“Don’t say that word la, just say ‘play’ as a substitution,” he said.
I did follow him because I’m just a medical student and maybe he was shy because there was a lot of girl around. But this situation is considered to be ok since the guars still openly ask me on HIV and how it is transmitted. But out there, there is more people that still holding this taboo. If you look around you, most people would avoid talking about sex openly.
Maybe some of teenagers are willing to talk about sex but in erotic way (not the educating way). This is wrong. Since sex education are going to be established in Malaysia, many teenagers (especially) misconception on this. They start to talk about sex without knowing how to talk about is and just talk like they want to. Even some of them out there did not know how to talk about sex educationally and many of them are actually doing sexual harassment rather then talking about an educational sex.
The things I want to discuss here is about the usage of condoms. We were taught on the infectious disease module this few weeks and one of the topics is Sexually transmitted diseases. So during the lecture and our self study session, we did learn a lot about this and the lecturer are talking and talking about the statistical fact and about the prevention of Sexually Transmitted disease. I remember one of the favorite quote of our lecturer “All of you lelaki nakal, please make sure you bring rubber in your pocket!”
Sex maybe not a taboo as before in Malaysia but condoms is still so taboo until no one should talk about it. Even some of my colleagues do not like what our lecturer said on condoms. Many of them just think that by using religion as a defense, condoms are not necessary. How far this theory can go?
This is what we the lecturer is discussing. Maybe many of us do not want to believe or take his advice on condoms, because he is not a Malaysian (saying that Malaysian culture does not need condoms), but in other way, he is right. The lecturer is right. Statistically, half of young people ages between 18-25 years old in Malaysia are having pre-marital sex and 80% of them did not use protective barrier when doing it. (New Straits Times August 2003). And more troublesome is in the year of 2005, 77000 Malaysians are infected by HIV (not counting other sexually transmitted Disease such as Gonorrhea, hepatitis B, other UTI infection etc.) So, can we still said that with the power of our religion does not matter if it is Christian, Muslim, Buddha, for 20 years, this disease was increasing. In 1986, only 3 people infected with HIV in Malaysia. Blaming it on foreigner, prostitute, blood transfusion, shaving knife, everything was just a made up thing. The most transmission method of HIV is still Sex. And WHO had claim that using condoms are one way of preventing this disease from spreading to others. One man one condoms should be the policy or not?
We are living in a country where religion is the most important thing. We cannot neglect this. By strictly following the rules in our religion (for me Muslim), AIDS could be prevented. But by saying this, why did AIDS increased in Malaysia?
So, to bring my opinion here, I think that condoms are still one best way to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted disease. As a medical student, every time I suggest on prevention of sexually transmitted disease, my first priority is using condoms plus by following our religion.
It is difficult to subject to discuss. But I agree with our lecturer, to do sex or not, religion our tradition, is your own problem and your own personal life. We did not care. What we care is preventing the disease, so using condoms is preventive.
Even though we have to said that do not do pre-marital sex because it was prohibited by our religion, but to include in the advice of using condoms if do should be done. In my opinion, even you are an obedient followers, but still we can’t deny or avoid saying “if you do, protect yourself”.
I wrote this in my own interest after reading the lecturer note on HIV and Sexually transmitted disease. I analyze every word that I wrote in my notebook, and I fight with myself whether only religious value can prevent HIV. To think a lot, I did my own conclusion that we cannot just neglect the usage of condoms to prevent HIV. We have to admit, even we live in a Muslim community, and still there is a person who can’t avoid themselves in sex. If I want to be a medical doctor later, I cannot simply deny this. I have to admit, and I have to said to someone that he or she have to use condoms even though in my heart I would say, no sex is better.