Sunday May 25 2014

65% of HIV-positive people use condoms consistently - study

A health expert demonstrates to Makerere

A health expert demonstrates to Makerere University students how a condom works at Kitebi Primary School, Wankulukuku during last year’s World Aids Day celebrations. PHOTO by joseph kiggundu  

By Sandra Janet Birungi

A study conducted by North West University in South Africa in the Population Research and Training Unit shows that 65 per cent of people living with HIV/Aids in Uganda use condoms consistently.

Of the cases studied, 70 per cent were men and 61 per cent women. The study by Dr Natal Ayiga carried out the research on people living with HIV/Aids (PHAs) after initiating antiretroviral treatment. It also revealed that condom use was more consistent for people who had secondary or tertiary education.

“This calls for the involvement of PHAs in HIV prevention which could be effective in changing risk behavior in generalised HIV epidemics,” the report stated.

Dr Joshua Musigunzi, the programme manager of Aids Control Program in the Ministry of Health, agreed with the findings of the study and noted that one of the reasons as to why the level of education affects condom use is the effectiveness of the available interventions.

“Condom use has to be consistent and correct. It is therefore not surprising that condom use is mostly in the educated population. These occupy the easy to reach areas, the urban areas and they are more likely to use interventions because they have the information,” Dr Musinguzi said.

He also noted that because of gender relations, power issues and society expectations, women use condoms less than the men citing that for a woman to buy a condom, she will be looked at with bias in society. Despite this, Dr Musinguzi was quick to add that interventions made by the ministry show women accessing the services more than the men, including treatment and Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission.

The report also showed that inconsistent condom-use was evident in marriage with couples finding difficulty negotiating condom use.
Data was collected from three HIV treatment centres at Nsambya hospital in Kampala, Soroti hospital in eastern Uganda and Hoima hospital in the west.