Thursday September 22 2016

Apac men, women dismantle female condom rings to wear as bracelets

Akokoro man wears the rings cut off from female

Akokoro man wears the rings cut off from female condoms. Photo by Bill Oketch 

By Bill Oketch

APAC: Health officials have raised the red flag over the misuse of female condoms as bracelets, saying the practice is hindering the fight against HIV/Aids.
Ms Eunice Etap, a nursing officer at Akokoro health centre III, said most of their clients who pick up the female condoms from the health unit have abused its use.
“Instead of using the condom as recommended, men and women cut out the rings and wear on their hands as bracelets,” the nursing officer told Daily Monitor at Akokoro health centre on Wednesday.

During a meeting at Akokoro Sub-county headquarters on Wednesday, this reporter saw a man happily wearing the rings. When asked, he claimed he got the two rings from his wife.
Since June this year, about 200 pieces of the female condoms have been distributed to the women in Akokoro Sub-county in Apac District.
“We distribute the condom to them but when they are coming back to the health unit, you find that men and women are wearing the rings as bracelets,” Ms Etap said.
She said children are also often seen blowing the used male condoms thinking they are balloons.

“We educate them on how to use it, we tell them what to do with the condoms, but when they reach home, they mess up,” the nursing officer said.
Under a positive living project initiated for those living with HIV/Aids in Akokoro, both the male and female condoms are distributed through the community condom distributors.
A senior clinical officer, Mr James Opio, who also doubles as the health centre in-charge, said the uptake is still low and knowledge of the female condom is scanty unlike for the male condom.

“For the male condom, the consumption is high and even people demand for it. But the community condom distributors say very few people are demanding for the female condoms,” Mr Opio said.
Female condom
The female condom is a pouch that is used during intercourse to prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Just before vaginal intercourse, it is inserted deep into the vagina. It has flexible rings at each end, and the ring at the closed end holds the pouch in the vagina.