Diana Al-Jassem, [email protected]
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2010-10-27 22:37

“STDs are one of the most under-recognized health problems worldwide. Furthermore, they can’t be diagnosed early, which is why they are expanding among people and are only discovered at a late stage. Many people have a misunderstanding of STDs, which makes them unaware of the dangers that threaten them,” she added.
The reason for this misunderstanding is due to lack of information on these diseases and lack of sexual health awareness among couples.
According to Faqeeh, many inflammations are appearing in women’s genital areas due to practicing unsafe sex or from pregnancy. Even worse, women are too embarrassed to discuss their sexual health or their husband’s relations.
Luckily, things are changing for the better. The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia issued a statement asking Saudis to have a pre-material test for couples, which is requirement to complete the marriage contract.
Faqeeh conducted a study to investigate sexual health awareness among Saudis. The study was performed using a standard questionnaire, which was distributed among 478 random participants from different backgrounds and ages. The results were as follows:
“Fifty-six percent of women from the study were completely unaware of their sexual health. Awareness on protection from STDs was 72 percent higher in males than females, and the majority of participants, 92 percent, thought that education about STDs should be taught in schools,” said Faqeeh.
There are many reasons for this lack of awareness. One of them is due to the obstacles Saudi society places on discussing STDs, which are backed by social and ethical reasons.
“People in Saudi Arabia cannot discuss STDs because they believe such issues are unacceptable in society,” she said.
Faqeeh is calling for the importance of health education on STDs in schools. She is also calling for the right to discuss sexual health openly without being controlled by society rules.
According to her, most common sources from which information on STDs is obtained are primarily mass media rather than school education. She also added that although a certain percentage of people are infected with STDs, pre-marital tests for STDs are almost never done among Arab people.
Consequently, Faqeeh wants to raise awareness through her campaign.
“I launched a campaign from my own medical center. This campaign targets a huge number of married women who are suffering from STDs,” said Faqeeh. “The awareness campaign that I launched is set to investigate local adolescents’ awareness of sexually transmitted diseases, including their level of knowledge regarding the mode of transmission and prevention of STDs.”
“We want to raise people’s awareness on unsafe sex, such as in vaginal intercourse and oral sex,” she added.
However, she stresses that social campaigns at medical centers are not enough to educate people about STDs and teach them how to avoid them.
“We want the Ministry of Education to adopt the topic of STDs in the school syllabus. People could then be familiar with the diseases and learn how to themselves and practice safe sex,” said Faqeeh.

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