Refinery 29, June 16, 2016 3:40 PM
Kenyan-born and Tanzania-based sexual health educator Maureen Oduor knows that soda doesn’t prevent pregnancy, but not all of the young women she counsels do. “In Kenya, adolescents believe that drinking a glass of Coca-Cola soda before and after sex can prevent a girl from getting pregnant,” she tells me. In Tanzania, meanwhile, “people believe that use of contraceptives by a woman who has never had a child causes a woman to be barren or give birth to an abnormal child” — and in both countries, “there is a belief that if a girl [does] not have sex as a very early teen, like 12 or 13 years, then the vaginal opening is likely to close or get sealed.”
In her work in Tanzania for SHDEPHA, an organization that fights discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS and replaces contraception misinformation with education and services, Oduor is a professional myth-buster. Her passion for sex ed is personal.
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