KIGALI - The Executive Secretary of the National Centre for the fight against HIV (CNLS), revealed that the distribution of condoms around the country has increased by 54.8 percent in the last three months.
Dr. Anita Asiimwe, made the revelation yesterday at an event to conclude the three-month nationwide campaign to popularize condom use.
The campaign began in December last year during the celebrations to mark the World Aids Day.
According to Asiimwe, the average monthly distribution of condoms before the mass campaign was 417, 432 condoms, but during the campaign alone, they were able to distribute 507, 658 more.
“The campaign period boosted the condom distribution to greater levels than before and helped popularize condom use in the country through the use of media, where over a hundred programs on the issue were aired on radios and in print media,” Asiimwe said.
“The campaign led to further increase in the numbers of people who went for voluntary testing.”
Information from CNLS shows that there was a 42 percent increase in voluntary testing during the mass campaign.
Speaking at the occasion, the Minister for Youth, Protais Mitali, said that the campaign helped the youth to know more about condoms as a means for dual protection—against HIV Aids and avoid unwanted pregnancies.
He encouraged parents to open up more and speak to their children about the advantages of using condoms.
“Some parents have started to open up, but there are others who are still reluctant to speak to their children about using condoms in case they fail to abstain,” the Minister said.
“This is something parents should do because there is no other choice,” he said adding that the AIDS scourge is still rampant and that the only way to confront it, is to sensitize the youth to use condoms.
On behalf of religious organizations, the Executive Secretary of the inter-faith network Ignace Singirankabo, said that religious leaders had started speaking about condoms in their places of worship, but maintained that they are still restricting their campaign to infected married couples.
According to Singirankabo, the network was able to reach out to over 20, 000 members in twelve districts and over 15, 000 condoms were distributed.
He also revealed that the HIV/AIDS prevalence among the members of the network who were tested during the campaign period was between 15 – 18 percent.
The theme of the campaign was ‘Condom as a means for dual protection. Let’s talk about it, let’s access it, let’s use it: a fundamental right for all.’