Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Botswana youths top Africa in condomising

Botswana youths use condoms more regularly than any of their partners in Africa. This emerged at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto this week. In Africa where condom use between “non regular partners” in the age group 15 to 24 can be as low as 5 percent, Botswana scored an impressive 88 percent.

In Africa, reported condom use between “non-regular partners” ages 15 to 24 ranges from 5 percent in Madagascar to 88 percent in Botswana, according to figures compiled by the UN.

Consistent condom use results in a 90 percent reduction in the risk of HIV transmission, the UN said.

The meeting, attended by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, is placing emphasis on emerging methods of prevention such as protective gels and vaccines. Condoms are getting “short shrift,” said Steve Kraus, chief of the United Nations Population Fund’s HIV/AIDS branch.

“The conference is absolutely right to focus attention on prevention but the things being talked about don’t even exist yet,” Kraus said. “If I had a billion dollars in my pocket I couldn’t go and buy any of it right now. What we have today are condoms. People are being infected now.”

“Condoms have an enormous role to play in the struggle against AIDS, there’s plenty of evidence for that,” said Kevin De Cock, director of the World Health Organization’s HIV and AIDS department.

“But maybe people have gotten tired of hearing about them. We’ve been saying they’re important since the 1980s and so maybe people are thinking `what’s new about that?”’


Read this week's paper