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Wednesday, 17 September 2014 12:12

Cultural and religious perception dwindling female condom uptake

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Blantyre, September 17:  Malawi is said to be one of the countries with low female condom consumption due to cultural and religious believes which perceive condom use as sinful, dirty and immoral.

Executive Director for the Network of Journalists living with HIV (JONEHA) David Kamkwamba said there is need for extensive civic education in order for Malawians to understand the great benefits attached to female condom use as a way of improving uptake.

“Low female condom consumption is contributing to the transmission of HIV in the country,” expressed Kamkwamba.
Kamkwamba also emphasised on the need to review the education system and incorporate modules that will enable the youth appreciate the condom issues at a tender age.

“Currently facts indicate that youths are becoming sexually active as young as nine and it’s high time stake holders embarked on early information dissemination on condom use and benefits particularly female condom,” explained Kamkwamba.

 Another factor leading to low female condom use is the practicality of the condom itself as women need to wear it at least not less than 30 minutes before having sexual intercourse for it to adapt to the amatory.

“For sex workers, who are one most venerable group to the virus, may find the condom unpractical as men lose trust in them if they are found already wearing a condom when meeting their clients,” added Kamkwamba.

Lilongwe resident Kelvin Sulugwe, 25, differs by saying that he is more comfortable seeing a girl carrying on or using female condoms other than moving around with male condoms

“The problem is that when it comes to matters of sex talk, only few people open up and where condoms are concerned, most of them want to act holy like they have nothing to do with such,” says Sulugwe.

 District HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC) coordinator in Blantyre Maggie Kanyenda shared the view that the low female condom uptake is caused by lack of awareness among the people on the importance and also lack of women empowerment.

“Women in our society have no much say on their sex and reproductive rights as most of them are not economically empowered as such they succumb to decisions  a man makes in relation to sex matters which in most cases exclude the female condom use,” explained Kanyenda.

For the global female condom day commemoration this year women are being motivated to demand for the availability and accessibility of female condom globally with the theme “Dance for Demand” where women are encouraged to post a video of their dance to a tune demanding for female condom availability.

The Global Female Condom Day (GFCD) provides advocates with an opportunity to highlight the power of the female condoms in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI).

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