The New Times (Kigali)

30 November 2010

Rwanda: 700 Condom Vending Machines to Be Installed

The Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Control Commission (CNLS), Dr. Anita Asiimwe, has said that they will, in the next few months, install 700 condom vending machines at hospitality facilities such as hotels, lodges and restaurants all over the country as part of the commission's strategy to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Asiimwe said this yesterday during a press conference on the country's preparations to mark the 'World AIDS Day (WAD)'. The day is marked annually on December 1.

She said that the first pilot phase which saw 69 condom vending machines installed in several hospitality facilities proved positive.

Asiimwe added that for the second year running, WAD, at the national level will further emphasise on the use, access and availability of condoms as a means of dual protection.

"We will also focus on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, family planning and protection against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV," Asiimwe noted.

"The distribution channels still need to be improved, because until now, we cannot ensure the sustainability of condom' supply, especially in rural areas. The existing distributions will therefore be strengthened by availing condoms in rural areas and public places and installing outlets across the country," she added.

WAD is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and commemorate those who have passed on and celebrate successes.

This year's WAD, which is slated to take three months of national mobilization campaign, will be launched in Rubavu District under the theme: "Protecting oneself and others against HIV is everyone's responsibility. I choose to use Condoms."

In conjunction with the Ministry of Health, Asiimwe also noted that there will be reinforcement of sensitization initiatives on reproductive health and condom use for students in schools.

However, Archbishop Thaddee Ntihinyurwa, the president of the Interfaith Network, had a different view when he said that condoms should only be used by legally married couples.

"Condoms should be used by spouses, when either of them is infected with HIV or both. Others should abstain and married ones be faithful," Ntihinyurwa, who is also the Archbishop of Kigali Catholic Church, said.

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