Want a Condom? Think again in the land of ABC

Uganda has long been hailed for its success in fighting HIV/AIDS, bringing prevalence rates from a high of 20-30% (depending on estimates) to 6%, where it has remained for the past several years. The success was attributed, among other things, to the ABC campaign — abstinence, “be faithful” and condom use. Well, I’m not sure about either the abstinence or the being faithful bit (though a new effort is being pushed forward with the be red campaign), but condom use remains tricky around here.

New Vision ran a fascinating piece in their Sunday edition, sending out reporters around the city/country asking to buy a condom from various shops. Results were mixed, but in general most were ridiculed, laughed at, or looked down upon for their purchase, where they were able to make it. It seemed to me the women fared worse…The men’s accounts are here and here, the women’s here, here and here.

This combined with the not uncommon idea that using a condom during sex is like eating candy with the wrapper on…

In any case, for those who thought promoting condom use abroad would be as (relatively) easy as it has been in the U.S. (where you often have 12 year olds putting condoms on bananas during sex ed class) should seriously think again, even in countries that have been supposedly successful in the fight against HIV/AIDS….