By George Kalisa
Over four million condoms will be distributed to Rwandans in a drive to step up HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted Infections (STI) prevention, said Dr. Brenda Asiimwe Kateera, Country Program Manager for AHF Rwanda.
So, we’ll continue using various channels including condoms kiosks, health facilities and community events,” added Dr. Asiimwe. “We’ve an annual target of distributing more than four million condoms, which we shall achieve because we usually go over our targets and that shows that there is still demand, people want the condoms,” said Dr. Asiimwe while speaking during the International Condom Day celebrations held in Musanze District on February18.
Dr. Asiimwe said that latest statistics indicate new HIV infections mostly among the youth aged between15-24 adding they can be saved through stepping up prevention measures though the country was doing well with HIV response.
“But we’re seeing new infections which can be prevented by using condoms – we’re also seeing, especially among young people particularly young girls aged between15-24″.
“HIV/AIDS is still an issue – we’re doing well with HVI response,” she added.
Dr. Asiimwe said that condoms are effective and a proven way of HIV prevention, preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and regretted the current loss of momentum in the country regarding the use of condoms, which he health organization is trying to address through heightened advocacy for condom use.
“So, I think we’ve that there has been a loss of momentum. Condom use among the people who’ve more than one partner is less than 60 per cent, very low and need to continue to advocate and promote condom distribution and promotion of condom use – that is used consistently and correctly,” said the Medic.
Dr. Asiimwe reminded Rwandans that condom use, voluntary medical male circumcision and HIV testing were still effective prevention measures.
She, thus, called upon the youth to take up HIV prevention measures including condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision.
“That’s why today as part of the International Condom Day, we’re offering free HIV testing, condom distribution and linking people with HIV prevention services at the health services,” remarked Dr. Asiimwe.
AHF has presence in 43 countries and has been working with the Government of Rwanda (GoR) in the HIV response since 2006.
“So we’re very honored to partner with the GoR and other partners to celebrate the International Day of Condom,” added Dr. Asiimwe.