BLANTYRE, Malawi — In Malawi, the United Nations Population Fund and Malawi government have launched the first ever national HIV/AIDS prevention drive that seeks to promote and increase condom use among youths. The effort, known as Condomize! Campaign, is also the first of its kind in Africa.
The drive comes in response to the government’s call for programs that will help reduce the prevalence rate of HIV among young people.
Bidia Deperthes, the UNFPA’s director of the campaign, said, “We have 12 African countries that have the highest HIV prevalence rate, and Malawi has been pressing to say ‘our young people want this campaign, our government wants this campaign.’ So, it was really a push for the national government asking the UFPA to make sure that this campaign reaches young people.”
The latest Malawi Demographic Health Survey shows that young people under age 30 make up more than half of all Malawians infected by the HIV virus that causes AIDS. This is largely attributed to low condom use.
Health surveys show that most youths in Malawi shun condoms. Some want to avoid being labeled as promiscuous and the myths that condom use takes the pleasure out of romance.
Activities during the campaign include displays of various types of condoms and on how to use them effectively.
The youths are also being treated to live performances of artists who incorporate the message of condom use into their songs.
“You know condom use is at the moment is very low," said Deperthes, "so the first thing [we are doing] is creating demand [for condoms among young people]. And after taking the condoms they should be able to utilize [them] correctly and consistently.”
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