Gum disease fears not stopping oral sex
While researchers at the Montego Bay-based International Postgraduate Medical College (IPMC) are worried about a new form of gum disease, which they have linked to oral sex, some persons who have embraced the once tabooed sexual habit, are treating it as much to do about nothing.
According to renowned dental expert Dr Christopher Ogunsalu, the gum disease, which studies has disassociated from the 'regular' periodontitis, was first encountered two years ago. He said it was proving quite difficult to treat, prompting the IPMC to start clinical trials in the hope of developing a treatment regime.
"We realised that a large number of young persons were showing up with bleeding of the gum, despite not showing any evidence of periodontitis," said Ogunsalu, one of the founders of the IPMC. "After our initial analysis, we were able to link the gum disease to oral sex, based on information we reluctantly got from some of our patients."
With locals reluctant to participate in the clinical trial out of fear that their sexual habits will be exposed, Ogunsalu and his IPMC team have decided to take their research to the Republic of Cameroon in Central Africa, where the sexual habit is said to be also prevalent.
As he continues to pursue a cure, Ogunsulu said he is quite worried by the fact that many of the persons who are showing up with the problematic disease have admitted to having multiple partners, which he think is resulting in greater exposure to the disease.
"While we are not seeking to discourage persons from engaging in oral sex, we would want to encourage them to at least stick to just one partner," said Ogunsulu. "That should slow down the spread of the disease until we are able to come up with a cure."
In Africa, Ogunsalu and his IPMC team will be working alongside Professor Lazare Kaptue, the vice-chancellor of the University des Montagnes in Cameroon.
Kaptue is internationally renowned as a pioneer in HIV infection/virus research. He was involved in the discovery of at least two new strains of the HIV viruses in Africa.