Talking about sexual health helps dispel the many myths: Dr T
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Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, also known as Dr T, has been dubbed as one of the bravest medical doctors on social media because of her advocacy on reproductive health and decriminalisation of sex work.
Mofokeng, who is also a sex columnist and a host of Sex Talk with Dr T, which airs on DStv 157, is passionate about making such medical health services available to all, regardless of economic status, including those marginalised due to sexual and gender identities.
If you are part of her 42000 followers on Twitter, you will know that she is unapologetic about bringing sexual health and sex talk into the limelight, and often shares tips on sex toys and how to “spice up” up your sex life.
We caught up with Mofokeng - who was also listed as one of Mail and Guardian's 200 young South Africans 2016, and was the winner of 2016 120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders, an initiative that recognises and highlights the achievements of the next generation of family planning leaders worldwide.
Mofokeng runs a Reproductive Clinic in Sandton and serves as the vice-chairperson of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition.
Why did you choose sexual reproductive health?
It was always my dream to study medicine. However, during medical school, I developed an interest in sexual reproductive health because, at the time, I felt there was more to it than the information that was made available to young people. As a young person, I was curious to access more information.
What contribution would you like to make in your field?
I’m an advocate for reproductive justice. People need to know that they have access to services and choices when you go to the clinic or doctor and the doctor tells you that you’re pregnant. You need to know that there are choices available. There is the choice of termination should you want to choose that option.
What is the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition all about?
This is a civil society organisation that consists of doctors, academics, researchers, activists and sex workers.
We encourage critical and constructive debate and dialogue about issues relating to sexual and reproductive justice, health and care. We are basically a network of people working together to provide advocacy, research, service delivery, education, policy analysis and activism work in the fields of gender, sexual and reproductive justice, health, rights and care.
When it comes to accessing quality sexual and reproductive health services, how far is SA?
We are not far from where we should be, but we are also not as far as we should be. The choice of termination is still not widely accessible and transgender transitioning is still not available to many ordinary South Africans.
Many patients who need to go through this process have to dig deep within their pockets for that, and it's unfortunate that those who are less fortunate have to wait years for it in the government hospitals.
To date, many women around our country are still scared of going to the local clinics for contraceptives because there is still the stigma around it and they are still being ostracised for choosing to be on contraceptives.
What would you like women to know about their bodies during women's month?
The basic is to know what your body does or doesn’t do when something is not right.
Also, women should invest time in knowing what is ovulation, when do my periods come, and also understand when to consult a medical professional.
Lastly, women should know that vaginas are unique; they are shaped differently and they produce different odours - and different does not necessarily mean danger.