8 April 2014

Malawi: Sex Workers and Girls Shun Female Condoms - CBO

Lilongwe — Some young ladies and sex workers have complained that female condoms are too demanding to use, a development which has made some of them to shun away.

Ted Kapesa, Financial Controller for Movement for Active People in HIV/AIDS Organization (MAPAO) a Community Based Organization (CBO) in Group Village Headman Kulamula Area in Traditional Authority Chitukula in Lilongwe told Malawi News Agency during a workshop field visit organized by Network of Journalists Living with HIV (JONEHA) in Lilongwe.

He said sex workers in the area have developed cold feet towards female condoms a development which puts at risk the lives of many young men who patronize the brothels.

"These sex workers told us during several engagements with them that usually they have a lot of young men who queue for their services and the female condom takes a lot of time to get them ready for use which according to them is good for their business," said Kapesa.

Grace Gondwe, Secretary for the CBO said young girls in the area also shun female condoms because of shyness which also puts their lives at risk as they may be tempted to engage in unprotected sex.

"There is more need of awareness on the use of female condoms and their advantages to attract more youths to use the condoms. We feel the younger ladies who shy away from accessing female condoms may be tempted into unprotected sex which may reverse the gains we have made in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

"Our catchment area is big. We currently serve a population of at least six thousand people in GVH Kulamula's area where there are a lot of young people we target," said Grace Gondwe. The development is in sharp contrast to the campaign by government and several stakeholders aimed at attracting more women to use female condoms as one way of combating HIV/AIDS.

Mapao is involved in different activities including, HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, Vocational training and Orphaned and Vulnerable Children support activities.

The latest HIV prevalence rate for Malawi stands at 10.6 percent.

The field work visit was one of the activities during a two day media workshop on HIV/AIDS reporting organized by JONEHA.

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