HIV officials concerned over condom use
There is still a gap in Barbados’ condom social marketing programme and director at the National HIV/AIDS Commission Jacqueline Wiltshire has revealed that health officials would need to return to the drawing board in order to help protect lives.
This after the findings of the just released Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Sexual Practice (KABP) Survey revealed that Barbadians were not using condoms, one of the top methods of preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STI’s), effectively.
According to the behavioral survey released this morning, 81.7 per cent of sexually active respondents were likely to have used a condom the last time they had sex with a non-regular sexual partner while 41.4 per cent were likely to have used one when they slept with a regular partner.
The survey found that the most common reason given for not using condoms with regular partners was that they ‘don’t like them’ and in the case of non regular partners 25.3 per cent “didn’t think it was necessary.”
“It’s a concern for us,” Wiltshire told Barbados TODAY following the launch.
“Every year we do a big condom distribution and we give out thousands of condoms but it still means that the behavior that we are seeking is still not on point with our target,” she said.
The report also pointed out the most people used the condom to prevent pregnancy as apposed to preventing STIs.
“Yes, they are for pregnancy but that is not the main reason that we at a National HIV/AIDS Commission have been promoting condom use, and we will have to make sure that people understand that it is not only HIV but all sexually transmitted infections which include HIV,” she stressed.
The commission’s director also revealed that the data suggested there was a need for more emphasis on STIs in order to get the message across about the importance of using condoms when engaging in sexual activity.
Another source of concern for Wiltshire was the availability and accessibility of condoms.
The survey showed that 85. 2 per cent of respondents used a male condom as apposed to the 8.0 per cent who use the female version.
In both cases respondents (25 per cent of males and 78.6 per cent of females) said they did not know where to
“There is more than one reason for this. Female condoms are more expensive; women tend to leave the protection to men; it is not as familiarly known and has not been promoted as much as the male condom which has been there for quite some time in the social space and women need to own their sexual health and responsibility,” Wiltshire explained.
Cost was also a factor that officials would have to look at very closely, she said.
“Because if you also looked at where people found the female condoms they tended to get them from the doctor or the clinic. Maybe we need to see where else these condoms can be made available.
“So what we are going to have to do is go back to the drawing board and look and see where it is that we have missing the boat with condoms and getting them to the use that they are suppose to be,” she added.