Lusaka, January 27, 2017: As part of its partnership with the Government of Zambia’s efforts to increase condom availability, accessibility and use, which is key towards HIV prevention in Zambia, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Zambia was pleased to hand-over two hundred and fifty (250) condom dispensers to the National AIDS Council in Zambia – to the tune of an estimated $37,500. This is the second of the donations all totaling an estimated $64,650. The dispensers will be distributed in Provinces with the highest HIV prevalence rates, including Lusaka (16.1%), Western (16.0%), Copperbelt (14.2%), Southern (13.4%) and Central (13.4%).
Speaking at the handover ceremony when he recieved the dispensers on behalf of the National AIDS Council, Director General (Ag) Mr. John Mwale noted that "although Zambia has demonstrated that the HIV epidemic has been stabilized - as noted in the decrease in HIV prevalence rates from 15.6% in 2002 to 11.6% in 2016, as well as reduction in the rate of new infections by 41% - Zambia still ranks among the 10 countries globally with the highest number of people living with HIV and AIDS with 46,000 new HIV infections in 2016 alone. The prevalence of HIV among women aged 15-59 remains unacceptably high at 14.9% compared to their male counterparts at 9.5%, with disparities being most pronounced among young adults aged 20-24, where it is 4 times as high among females (8.6%) than males (2.1%)." Mr. Mwale said.
Also speaking during the event when she handed over the dispensers to the National AIDS Council, UNFPA Zambia Representative Dr. Mary Otieno highlighted that low condom use is among the key drivers of HIV infections in Zambia, especially among young people where only 40% of girls and 49% of boys aged 15-24 used a condom at last high risk sex according to the 2014 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey. She added that increasing condom availability, accessibility and use is therefore critical in a comprehensive and sustainable approach to the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and are effective for preventing unintended pregnancies.
- In the Photo: DJ Kaliwa (L) a UNFPA "Safeguard Young People" music activist performing a song about HIV prevention together with UNFPA Zambia SRH-HIV-GBV Linkages Coordinator, Chipo Zulu during the handover ceremony. Photo Credit: Times of Zambia
"Let me reiterate that, although condoms are part of most national HIV, STI and reproductive health programmes, condoms have not been consistently distributed nor promoted proactively enough. National condom distribution and sales can be strengthened by applying a total market approach that combines public sector distribution, social marketing and private sector sales. In high-HIV prevalence locations, condom promotion and distribution should become systematically integrated in community outreach and service delivery, and in broader health service provision. In this regard - and acknowledging the effectiveness of this prevention commodity - it is with great pleasure that I hand over 250 condom dispenser’s to the National AIDS Council - for distribution in Provinces with the highest HIV prevalence rates. We believe that the dispensers will address some of the barriers that hinder access and use of condoms by those sexually active and/or at risk of HIV and STIs infection, as well as pregnancy" Dr. Otieno added.