The use of condoms increased by 22 percent in the past two decades owing largely to behavioural change, says Population Services International. PSI country director Mrs Louisa Norman said the increase in condom use had contributed to the decline in HIV prevalence rate. She was speaking at the launch of the new protector plus condom “New Man” by Health and Child care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa in Harare on Wednesday.
“Of course the reduction in prevalence rate is due to the hard work done by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, National Aids Council and many other partners but protector plus has certainly had a part to play,” she said.
Mrs Norman said before the introduction of protector plus in 1994, condom use was at 49 percent and by 2011 it had risen to 71 percent. PSI expected to sell a billion condoms by end of year. Dr David Parirenyatwa congratulated PSI for marketing condoms as a tool for HIV prevention. He said condoms were key to preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Dr Parirenyatwa said married couples were shunning condoms hence the low usage of 27 percent.
“There are cultural norms that create barriers to communication on sex and negotiating safe sex, in particular within marriage and long term relationships,” he said.
Dr Parirenyatwa appealed to retailers to assist Government’s efforts to end HIV by displaying condoms at the till point where they are easily noticeable.