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HIV/AIDS has been ranked as one of the main killer diseases globally. It is mainly “transmitted through unprotected sex and blood transfusion” (CDC 2010). It destroys the CD4 cells and this limits the body’s ability to protect itself from infections. The use of condom has been proposed as an effective way of curbing the spread of the disease.
Despite its effectiveness in reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, condom use has not been fully accepted due to socio-economic factors. This paper highlights the current situation and recommendations in regard to response and acceptability of condom usage.
Most countries in the world have adopted a “national condom usage program in order to control the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases” (Schmiedl 2004, vol. 20, p. 17).
Such programs include creating awareness about condom and its benefits. They also involve the provision of condoms at no costs or at reduced costs. There is a positive response to condom use as people realize its effectiveness in preventing HIV/AIDS.
The promotion of condom use is more focused on the vulnerable groups rather than the general public. Thus condom is mostly associated with deviants such as sex workers and drug addicts (Bedimo & Clark 1998, vol. 9, p. 50). This causes stigmatization in regard to condom use.
The government and private agencies that are in charge of the condom usage programs usually conduct the procurement and distribution activities at the head-office level. Thus there is little involvement of the civil society in decision-making (CDC 2010). This causes alienation and underutilization of the programs.
The abstinence campaign programs are also reducing the popularity of condoms. Those who support abstinence especially religious leaders believe that condoms encourage immorality (Bourne, Charles & Francis 2010, vol. 20, p. 65). This discourages the use of condoms.
In order to eliminate the stigma associated with the use of condoms, the programs should focus on the general public. Instead of targeting only the vulnerable groups, the governments should create the impression that condom use is meant for everyone (Cohen & Clark 2003, vol. 87, p. 975).
The civil society and opinion leaders should be involved in the programs especially when making decisions. This will facilitate the acceptance of the programs by the majority (CDC 2010). Besides, there should be more funding to support awareness programs as well as availability of condoms.
Finally the governments should focus on evidence-based strategies for preventing HIV/AIDS. This includes widespread use of condoms (Hocking, Turk & Ellinger 2002, vol. 22, p. 357). Counter-productive programs such as abstinence should be avoided since their effectiveness is not easy to measure.
HIV/AIDS can be easily controlled through the use of condoms since it is sexually transmitted (Bedimo & Clark 1998, vol. 9, p. 5). However, a 100 percent condom usage rate is yet to be achieved due to socio-economic barriers as discussed above. Consequently, there should be more funding and intensification of condom use awareness activities.
Bedimo, L & Clark, R 1998, ‘Understanding barriers to condom usage among HIV infected African American women’, Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 48-58.
Bourne, P, Charles, C & Francis, C 2010, ‘Psychosocial correlations of condom usage in a developing country’, Open Access Journal of Contraception, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 64-75.
CDC 2010, Condom distribution as a structural level intervention. Web.
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Cohn, S & Clark, R 2003, ‘Sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and AIDS in women’, Medical Clinics of North America, vol. 87, no. 5, pp. 971-995.
Hocking, J, Turk, D & Ellinger, A 2002, ‘The effects of partner’s insistence of condom usage in perception of the partner, the relationship and the experience’, Journal of Adolescence, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 355-365.
Schmiedl, R 2004, ‘School-based condom availability programs’, Journal of School Nursing, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 16-21.