THE Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) is moving around Bulawayo suburbs distributing cond0ms, mostly to youths as part of its se_xual Health and Reproduction campaign.
The week-long campaign was launched on Monday, a day after the commemoration of the International cond0m Day.
The International Cond0m Day was launched in 2009 by Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest HIV/AIDS organisation in the world.
The AHF strategically chose February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, a day where lovers are likely to be engaging in se_xual activities and this year’s commemorations are running under the theme ‘Always in fashion’.
Cond0ms are unique from other contraception methods in that they are a barrier method that provides dual protection against se_xually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV as well as unintended pregnancies.
Statistics show that female cond0m uptake remains low in Bulawayo province.
According to the National Aids Council (NAC) 2021 annual provincial report, close to 3 million male cond0ms were distributed compared to only 90 000 in Bulawayo last year.
Marketing and Communications Officer for Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council for Bulawayo and Matabeleland North Provinces, Mr Mission Gwafa said reasons for the low female cond0m uptake are based on socio and cultural beliefs and taboos that make it a man’s job to source cond0ms and negotiate for se_x.
“People choose the male cond0ms because of the social and cultural beliefs that make it a man’s duty to source cond0ms. And there is always a stigma around women who buy and carry around cond0ms.
“Women depend on their male counterparts for cond0ms and even if they collect or buy them, they choose male cond0ms,” he said.
During the family council’s se_xual Health and Reproduction campaign around Bulawayo province, the organisation provided free services related to se_xual reproductive health and family planning and advocated for safer se_x during the month of love.
Mr Gwafa said this year’s cond0m distribution was targeting youths and they were moving around youth centres.
“The main aim is to empower people especially adolescents on se_xual rights and their choices in opting for safer se_x. And during the campaign, we will explore how the cond0m cuts across all HIV prevention strategies.
The program for youth centres will spread through the 15 youth centres in the western suburbs of Bulawayo where free services will be offered,” he said.
“The program aims to destigmatise cond0ms, empower young people to make the right choices on se_xual issues and to improve access to quality free cond0ms.
We will also be offering free IUVD and free Sayana Press contraceptives to all eligible and needy women and girls of reproductive age.”
He also said the program aims to educate young people and women to be able to distinguish between love and abuse that comes on days such as Valentine’s Day.
‘A dialogue on issues of se_x, se_xual rights and consent will be conducted daily at the youth centres to create awareness and knowledge on such and to try and empower youth to guard against se_xual abuse that comes disguised under love especially on Valentine’s Day,” he said.
The campaigns started yesterday in Mzilikazi suburb and moved to Silwane Youth centre in Pumula suburb.
ZNFPC is targeting to distribute 30 000 male cond0ms and 5 000 female cond0ms over this week.