The Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has joined the fight against new HIV infections by launching a new condom that will be distributed for free countrywide.
A product of Karex Industries in Malaysia, Icon Gold condom has unique features that makes it appealing to youths and adolescents.
Addressing about 500 tertiary students at the launch in Harare over the weekend, the director of Aids and TB Unit in the Health and Child Care ministry, Dr Owen Mugurungi, said there was need to fight new HIV infections.
"We are happy today, with our partners AHF launching a new type of condom specifically designed for our young adolescent and youths so that you can access it, which we call Icon Gold," he said.
"Icon Gold is the perfect condom for our young people because it will protect them from getting infected. When we look at the data, sexually transmitted infections have been coming down in the older population except for the young people.
"We felt that this is the perfect moment because we are not only an institution that deals with young people, but we also have here young people from various tertiary institutions like University of Zimbabwe and Harare Polytechnic."
Dr Mugurungi said young adults had, in terms of the policy direction of Government and the ministry, access to health and reproduction services.
"You can access condoms and be able to use them to protect yourselves from HIV infection," he said.
"We know that we have a number of interventions which we call the combined package for HIV prevention, but condoms on themselves, yes they will work, but we need to be faithful, abstain and get circumcised."
Speaking at the same event, National Aids Council operations director, Mr Raymond Yekeye, said the coming on board of Icon Gold would add value to the public sector.
"Icon Gold's unique features are that it is thin, hence enhancing sexual sensitivity, it is large in size and contains natural rubber latex," he said.
"It has been noted that over 77 percent of market share of condoms are accessed through the public sector marketing distribution systems.
"It is, therefore, imperative to increase supplies and varieties in this sector as only 54 percent of the country's condom needs is being met. Our HIV prevention recognises the central role that condoms play in the prevention of HIV where majority of infections are transmitted through sexual contact."
AHF Zimbabwe country director, Dr Ernest Chikwati said they were happy to be launching the product which would be distributed for free in a bid to help youths stay free from new infections.