The cost and scarcity of female condoms, popularly known as FEMIDOMS, has been cited as a challenge in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
A senior official in charge of voluntary counselling and testing in Population Service International [PSI] has disclosed that the female condoms are scarce and expensive compared to male condoms.
Bernadette Ruhunga, who is also the quality control manager at PSI revealed this yesterday during a sensitisation session for the 224 employees of the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR), ahead of a two-day voluntary testing set for next mouth.
“In some places, these female condoms are scarce and where they can be obtained, they are acquired expensively at Rwf200, the price of a full packet of male condoms,” she said.
She said that a five year survey carried out in 2000 to 2006 unveiled that the HIV prevalence in women was higher than in men.
“In five years of surveying we found that more women compared to men had HIV,” she disclosed.
PSI is a global health organisation operating in Rwanda, which develops commercial marketing strategies in programmes that target HIV/AIDS, malaria, reproductive health and child survival.
Ruhunga also revealed that currently, there is a high prevalence of AIDS in villages compared to towns.
Innocent Rurangwa, the Director of Human Resource and Administration, at SSFR disclosed that in a voluntary testing exercise carried out in 2007, of the 158 tested employees, four were positive.
He also revealed that since 2004, SSFR employees have been able to contribute Rwf10m towards the treatment of employees infected with HIV.
Rurangwa said that Rwf2m has been set aside for the voluntary testing exercise which is scheduled to start on September 7.
Meanwhile, Oswald Muyandekwe, the Director of Pension and Benefits department suggested that voluntary testing of HIV be made an obligation.