Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Fighting the same old battles

It's World Aids Day. This is an extract from Wednesday's "New Times" and applies to my own district of Muhanga, showing that we've got a long way to go to change people's attitudes.

Religion hampering condom use

MUHANGA – Religious teachings in Muhanga district are causing residents to shun condom use and thus involve in risky sexual behaviours, Joel Serucaca, the district health coordinator said yesterday.

“We need combined efforts in educating residents on the dangers of HIV/Aids because it has become evident that few people are using condoms due to religious conviction.

This has impacted on the HIV prevalence levels,” Serucaca said during the commemoration of the World AIDS Day.

Residents in Meru trading centre, in Muhanga sector noted that condoms are easily accessible, however, they said, recent increase in condom prices has subsequently affected their use.

“The price of ‘Prudence’ condom has increased from Rwf50 to 100, while the ‘Life-Guard’ condoms have increased from Rwf200 to 500 in the past weeks. The condoms are expensive and we cannot afford it,” one cyclist said.

Other youths who spoke to the New Times said they are afraid of buying condoms for fear of being ‘regarded people with multiple sexual partners.’

Over 10,000 condoms were distributed in Kibangu sector during the world Aids Day commemoration, according to Serucaca. The district has planned to distribute over 100,000 condoms in the next three months during promotion campaigns.

The HIV prevalence rates in Muhanga district are estimated at 3.9% according to 2007 report.

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