WINDHOEK – The Health Focus spoke to young people to gauge their views on condom use and the stigma attached to it.
A HIV activist, Immanuel Sheefeni, commented that many people use condoms but they do not know how to use them properly.
“Many people pick up condoms but it’s as good as not using condoms because there are factors such as size, the removal process and the correct use because that’s how condoms burst,” explained Sheefeni.
He further observed that people are still shy to pick up condoms in public.
“Some people are still shy to use condoms. I have observed during my condom distribution campaigns that some people are afraid to get condoms and they only become comfortable when they see their peers getting condoms. So, there is still so much stigma attached to the use of condoms,” Sheefeni says.
Sheefeni’s message is that young people should continue to use condoms.
“HIV has not ended, yes it’s treatable but there is still no cure. To avoid unwanted pregnancies and infections young people should use condoms,” Sheefeni states.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) during the launch of the Condomise campaign in August last year, condom use rates are going down in Southern Africa. As a result, there has been an increase in sexually transmitted illnesses, Thamary Silindza, the Programme Officer for Maternal Health and Family Planning for UNFPA e-Swatini told the media in August last year.
Condoms, when used correctly, can reduce the chances of unplanned pregnancies and STIs including HIV, she said at the time. “The condom is the best method for young people,” added Silindza.
Commenting on the use of condoms, young people residing in Goreangab informal settlement say there are various factors influencing the use of condoms, especially among the young.
Among these are long-term relations, the influence of alcohol and pressure from one partner. “Couples who have been seeing each other for years do not use condoms because they know each other,” says 38-year-old Emily Erastus.
She also explains that when people are under the influence of alcohol they cannot negotiate for safer sex and hence are most unlikely to use condoms.
Erastus says she has been in a relationship with her partner for 12 years and she and her partner do not always use condoms.
“The use of condoms in our relationship is 50/50. I know my partner’s status and he knows my status,” Erastus adds.
She however strongly insists that young people should use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted illnesses and unwanted pregnancies.
Furthermore, 20-year-old Monika Sheefeni says young people do not entirely shun condom use. “I have observed that people who refuse to use condoms are those who want to infect their partners and most cases these are people who just met at a club or just met,” says the nursing student.
She adds: “Some young people say they prefer 40 (unprotected sex) because it’s nicer and that some condoms cause allergies and they do not smell nice. Ladies mostly complain of allergies when using condoms while men insist that it’s better to have unprotected sex because it’s nicer,” says Monika.
Another young person, 21-year-old Immanuel Edward says women get comfortable when they start using injectable contraceptives, saying they do not see the need for condom use.
“But the reality is injectable contraceptives do not protect against illnesses,” Edward says.
2019-03-25 09:22:56 25 days ago