How a discordant couple was saved by Prudence Condom

It all started as a mild fever for Alinda (not real name), a resident of Shyogwe Sector in Muhanga District. At first,she brushed it off as just another fever and took painkillers thinking it would go away. It didn’t, but instead worsened.
Prudence and Plaisir condoms are marketed by SFH as both contraceptives and HIV prevention gadgets. The New Times/ Ivan Ngoboka.
Prudence and Plaisir condoms are marketed by SFH as both contraceptives and HIV prevention gadgets. The New Times/ Ivan Ngoboka.

It all started as a mild fever for Alinda (not real name), a resident of Shyogwe Sector in Muhanga District. At first,she brushed it off as just another fever and took painkillers thinking it would go away. It didn’t, but instead worsened.

It wasn’t long before she started getting funny itchings too, and they multiplied with every scratch, and overtime grew into blisters.

This was followed with non-stop stomach-ache and diarrhea, over time   she lost weight and became considerably weak.

“I ended up with a ghostly appearance; it was astonishing how I quickly lost my good looks, and many could no longer recognise me,” Alinda says.

She was aware of the existence of HIV, but refused to entertain the possibility that she had the deadly virus.

“I went to health centres several times, but insisted they test for other ailments except HIV/Aids,” she says.

One time, she got bedridden for four consecutive days, and was driven by her husband to hospital almost in coma. This is when she reluctantly gave in to the much dreaded test. But the doctor insisted that it had to be carried out on both of them. And they obliged.

“I was shocked to find that I was positive, and my husband was negative. I felt broken but my husband was there for me,” Alinda recalls.

After weeks of   treatment on ARVs and counselling, she was strong and feeling good about herself again.

“Before discharging me, the doctor mentioned that we had to use condoms during every sexual inter-course, so as to avoid spreading.”

They went to a near-by retail shop shortly after leaving the hospital, and bought Prudence Condom packs, each at Rwf100.

 “With ARVs, I am assured of a long life at least, and my husband and I can still enjoy marriage, since his safety is guaranteed with consistent  condom use.”

Alinda says once in a while they get these condoms (generic condoms) from Rwanda Biomedical Centre through community-based health workers free of charge.

“I prefer Prudence (Condom Branded and socially marketed by Society for Family Health Rwanda) because it’s affordable and readily available in retail shops,” she says. 

According to Bonaventure Rutagengwa, an SFH regional programme coordinator for  the Western Province, they are involved in various anti-Aids sensitisation programmes  through platforms such as mobile cinema services and interpersonal communication conducted by trained peer educators and community health workers.

He adds that in May last year, more than 45 community health workers in Muhanga district alone were equipped with skills related to HIV prevention messages.

The other similar product marketed is Plaisir, available in retail shops at Rwf300 only.

“Some residents still shy away from buying condoms, so the biggest challenge we are faced with is that of creating behaviourial change,” he says.

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News