Condom use is increasing in Gweru District, Zimbabwe, with over 600,000 condoms distributed from January to present, compared to 388,030 distributed during the same period last year. This increase is largely due to the efforts of Condom Champions (CC), who are working to ensure that people have easy access to these products. When used correctly and consistently, condoms can effectively prevent pregnancy and protect both partners from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS.
According to Petros Mazengwa, the Gweru District HIV and AIDS coordinator at the National Aids Council (NAC), a total of 581,709 male condoms and 24,716 female condoms have been distributed. Mazengwa stated that the NAC has enlisted the help of CC volunteers, who are based in the various wards and assist with condom distribution, monitoring, and the dissemination of information about “combination HIV prevention.” These volunteers have reportedly distributed 52% of the condoms, particularly in hotspots around the Gweru CBD and at beer outlets in the suburbs. Condoms are also distributed at institutions of higher learning in the district, and key populations such as sex workers can directly request supplies from the CC.
Despite the overall increase in condom distribution, demand for female condoms remains low compared to male condoms in the district. However, some males are now reportedly preferring the female condom. It is important for both parents and adolescents to be aware of and understand current prevention programs, as HIV prevalence in Gweru is hovering around 13.5%, with incidence at 0.32%. As of the end of the third quarter of 2022, there were 16,213 people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the district – 7,929 males and 8,284 females.
Condom use is a reliable and effective way to reduce the risk of HIV infection and unintended pregnancies. By increasing access to condoms and promoting their correct and consistent use, Gweru District is taking important steps towards improving sexual health and preventing the spread of STIs.