KAMPALA. The Minister of Health, Dr Ruth Jane Aceng, said more people have embraced the use of condoms, which has reduced the Aids prevalence rate from 7.3 per cent from 6 per cent.
“Since the introduction of combined prevention, there has been an increase in the use of condoms among the population. Government has endeavoured to provide free condoms and this has cut down the prevalence of Aids in the country,” Dr Aceng said in an interview yesterday.
She said the increased condom use has come with an inevitable increase in their prices. For example, in most supermarkets and stores, a packet of condoms costs between Shs2,000 and Shs10,000.
The minister’s remarks coincide with the International Condom Day today, which seeks to promote the use of condoms as a means of preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
Dr Aceng added that more Ugandans are embracing the protective rubbers due to introduction of different brands on the market.
“The moment branding comes into anything, then the prices are likely to escalate beyond normal. We are happy that more people have appreciated the protective measure. Those who have the money can go ahead and buy the branded condoms as long as they protect themselves,” she said.
According to Reproductive Health Uganda, there are about 19 condom brands in Uganda with Protector, Life Guard and Trust being the most used. Protector takes the lion share of the social market, selling more than 23 million units in 2013. However a new type, O Condom, has entered the fray and is also highly bought.
Data by UNAIDS suggests that 60 per cent men and 45.5 per cent women used a condom the last time they had higher-risk sex (defined as being with a non-marital, non-cohabiting partner).
It also said the number of male condoms distributed by the government rose from 87 million in 2012 to about 240 million by the end of 2015. However, this is far below the number of condoms required given the population size.
Dr Aceng said condoms have been put in all social places and appealed to employers to provide free condoms at work places.
“You can find condoms in bars, lodges, toilets and other social places. It would be good if employers also avail condoms to their employees so that we can continue to fight against HIV/Aids,” she said.
Usage rate: According to UNAIDS, a United Nations body that leads and inspires the world into the reduction of HIV infections, 60 per cent men and 45.5 per cent women used a condom the last time they had higher-risk sex (defined as being with a non-marital, non-cohabiting partner).