Women shun female condom

HARARE - Women  in Zimbabwe are reluctant to use the female condoms with many of them leaving the choice of either using a male or female condom to men.

Last Wednesday Zimbabwe commemorated the World Female Condom Day in Chinhoyi amid reports that particular form of contraceptive was not popular. It was reported that instead, women are increasingly preferring flavoured female condoms.

The female condom was introduced in the 1990s in Zimbabwe after Women and Aids Support Network (Wasn) advocated strongly for its introduction on the Zimbabwe market.

But women are not adequately using the Care contraceptive sheath as the condom is branded in Zimbabwe. During its days of inception and as a way of marketing, the condom was taken to hair dressing salons and other places women frequent.

It is also found in some rest rooms in different places, alongside the male condom. The Daily News on Sunday went around town interviewing women regarding the use of female condoms.

Marjory Mbwembwe, 29 of Sunningdale said she has never used the female condom before and she generally does not use condoms in her marriage. “I do not use a female condom. We do not use condoms in our home; if we are to use them I would prefer the male condom.”

Violet Jachi, 18 of Chinhoyi said she is aware of the female condom but she has never used it. “I know it but it is too big and I am afraid to insert it into my private parts. But it is good for my protection because it is a device that I can use, it empowers me.”

Most women said they leave the responsibility of wearing protection during sex to their husbands or partners.

Mary Gwidiri, 19 of Norton, married, with one child said: “I do not know the female condom, and I would not use it even if I knew it. I wait for my husband to initiate which protection method to use.”

It was established that in a situation where women are presented with a female condom and a male condom they pick the male condom for use.

National Aids Council Coordinator for Makonde, Yvonne Chavunduka said: “There is a wide margin between the two condoms. You know that in a quarter, 258 000 male condoms against 12 000 female condoms were distributed.”

Chavunduka said the condoms are not demonic. “Those condoms are not demonic; we need to dispel myths surrounding the use of the condom.”

Mary Sandasi, Wasn director said: “The female condom is acceptable to those who have used it, they actually ask for more condoms. Others who have never used it have issues with its size. They think it is too big.”

Sandasi said women need assistance to be initiated to the female condom. “NGOs and other organisations working with women should advocate for the acceptance of the condom among females.

“As an organisation we are still working on making the female condom accepted. At the moment we are working in Chivhu where we are advocating for women to take up the female condom.”

Head of Communication and Knowledge Management for Southern Africa HIV and Aids Information Dissemination Service, SafAids, Tariro Makanga said there has been a low uptake of female condoms not only in Zimbabwe but in the southern African region.

“The condom was supposed to empower women in the fight against HIV and Aids.

“A woman can wear it three to four hours before they use it. This empowers women but most complain of its physical shape. This problem is not only prevalent in Zimbabwe it is found in the region,” said Makanga.

Makanga said organisations should keep on lobbying for uptake of the female condom because it is the only tool that women can use to protect themselves against HIV and Aids.

Comments (3)

What is wrong with its shape?

too dump - 6 November 2014

that female condom is too irritating,i had sex with my girlfriend it was like inserting into a plastic bag coz its not stable like a male one which becomes firm when worn.

mashotopiyana - 13 November 2014

The female condom when you look at it its just too gross.This thing is just a turn off and I believe if women are to be open about it, we wont be surprised that most collect it but never actually use it.If the powers be are serious and really wan to make serious in as far as its use concerned they have to go back to the drawing board and redesign and reeducate women on proper insertion techniques.

Tamu - 27 November 2014

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