MASERU- International Condom Day, which is marked globally on an annual basis February 13, was commemorated yesterday. The day is aimed at promoting the use of condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancies, STIs and the spread of HIV and Aids through safe sex practices.
The day was conceptualized by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in 2009 in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV through safe sex practices. Since then it has been an informal observance celebrated in conjunction with Valentine's Day.
In Lesotho, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) and the Lesotho Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (Lenepwa) marked the day through condom use demonstration and distribution in Mafeteng district. The day was observed under the theme: ‘Condomise Caz, Condoms are Cool’ (4Cs)
According to UNFPA, condoms are a critical component in providing a comprehensive and sustainable approach to the prevention of HIV and STIs as well as the avoidance of unintended pregnancies. In addition, UNFPA’s view is that prevention is the mainstay of the response to HIV and condoms therefore become an integral and essential part of comprehensive prevention and care programs.
According to 2014 Demographic and Health Survey, about 65 percent of men and 54 percent of women who have multiple sexual partners uses condoms
LPPA Public Relations Officer, Tlali Matela, said condom use is still the best contraceptive method around, even when they give variety of contraceptives to women, they teach and advise them on the correct use of condoms.
He said LPPA distributed condoms to remote areas across the country and promotes the effective use of condoms among all groups of people, although their target is younger people since they are prone to a high HIV and Aids prevalence.
Matela said their objective is to extend the Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and HIV and Aids services to key populations, including vulnerable groups, in order to ensure better access to health services to all and to prevent new infections among them.