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Free flavoured condoms are here!

Publishing Date : 27 November, 2017


Chocolate, mint, strawberry and tutti frutti- if you are thinking these are ingredients for a scrumptious Sunday dessert, you are forgiven. These are in fact all flavours of male condoms expected to replace Government Issue condoms available at various facilities.

Health Promotions and Communications Officer in the Department of HIV& AIDS, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Jonathan Moalosi hinted at a press briefing on Tuesday this week that the ministry would launch the condoms by December. 
While he could not reveal much about the flavoured condoms, Moalosi said the condoms would be launched through a local branch before end of this year.

The move, he said, aims to address complaints and concerns from the public about the current brand and encourage condom use which he said was declining. According to Moalosi, one of the dangers of lack of condom use was noticed among breastfeeding mothers who seroconvert without their knowledge and end up infecting their babies as they breastfeed. “It is important for partners to use condoms, we urge fathers to continue using condoms to avoid reinfection and seroconversion.”

He attributed the common belief of go tiisa ngwana mokokotlo to the seroconversion, highlighting that the practise was actually setting government aback. “It is common knowledge that Botswana has done exceptionally well on the PMTCT programme, but indulging in such risky behaviour is setting us 10 steps back because as soon as people don’t use condoms, they risk seroconversion. We have cases where mothers gave birth to babies with full knowledge that they were HIV negative, but along the way the mother seroconverts and because they continue to breastfeed their babies end up infecting them with the HIV,” Moalosi asserted.

Millions of condoms have been procured for free distribution in Botswana to date.  Population Services International (PSI) has helped promote condoms from as early as 1993. In 2003 the Government of Botswana, with funding and technical support from ACHAP, launched an extensive condom distribution and marketing campaign, providing for the installation of 10,500 condom dispensers in traditional and non-traditional outlets throughout the country.

Despite government providing free condoms, usage has been dropping-studies show that overall condom use in the general public dropped from 90.2% in 2008 to 81.9% in 2013.  In 2008 condom usage amongst those aged between 15-24 years stood at a respectable 78.4%, a figure which dropped to 65.2% five years later in 2013. Some of the reason advanced for low condom use amongst young adults was because the ones currently being distributed are smelly and therefore not attractive.



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