Dispatch

Somolekae launches Condomise Campaign

20 June 2014

Condom use remains one of the most tried and tested methods of preventing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The Assistant Minister of Health, Dr Gloria Somolekae said this when officially launching the Condomise Campaign in Gaborone on May 19.

Dr Somolekae said the HIV/AIDS pandemic had been bedeviling the country for the past three decades but no cure had been found except palliation drugs such as Anti-Retro Viral (ARVs) drugs.

“Therefore, interventions of this nature, which are geared towards disseminating HIV prevention information to the grassroots in our communities, cannot be underestimated,” she said.

She highlighted that it was imperative to teach skills on the correct and consistent use of condoms among the reproductive and sexually active age groups.

Dr Somolekae noted that the HIV prevalence was a kaleidoscope, the prevalence rate among youth aged 15-24 years was declining and promising while HIV prevalence among 24-49 years was disturbingly high and gradually increasing at an alarming rate.

“This scenario places us in an awkward situation in view of multiple partnership behavior (MCP) and intergenerational sex that are rampant in our country,” she said.

She pointed out that the Condomise Campaign was unique and colourful, especially because it was youth-led and targeted the youth themselves.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Botswana Representative Ms Aisha Camara Drammeh said the Botswana Youth Risk Surveillance Survey of 2012 reported that 19 per cent of young people indulged in sex before the age of 13.

Ms Camara-Drammeh observed that young people remained at the centre of HIV/AIDS epidemic in terms of rates of infection, vulnerability, impact and potential for change.

She said although Botswana was witnessing declines on new infections such as for 15-24 year olds, HIV declined by 25 per cent. The country was dealing with high prevalence rate particularly among young women aged 15-24 years at 10.7 per cent as compared to their male counterparts’ 4.8 per cent.

Ms Camara-Drammeh said it was therefore imperative to create awareness among young people and a demand for condom by teaching them correct and consistent use as part of the equation for prevention of the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

She pointed out that young people who chose to delay sexual activities were supported on that endeavor and encouraged to use condom for protection when deciding to engage in sexual activities.

She said the campaign targeted the youth at the African Youth Games and would end on May 31. The campaign is supported by Global Condomise campaign, UNFPA Botswana, NACA, Ministry of Health among others. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Kedirebofe Pelontle

Location : GABORONE

Event : Campaign launch

Date : May 20 Tue,2014