In commemoration of the International Condom Day (ICD), the Uganda youth and adolescents’ health forum (UYAHF) under the power to youth (PTY) program held a radio talk show on 95-time FM Mbale under the topic “Effective use of condoms to prevent STDs and teenage pregnancies” on Saturday, February 12th, 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 am.
ICD is an informal holiday that takes place every year on February 13 in conjunction with Valentine’s Day to raise awareness about safe sex in a fun and creative way while encouraging people to use condoms.
In 2018, Mbale District was reported to be struggling with rising HIV/AIDs prevalence among adolescents, with rates rising from 5% to 7%. In addition, the district continues to have high rates of teen pregnancies. The prevalence rate is now 22 percent, up from 18 percent a year ago, according to Mbale city health officer Dr. Jonathan Wangisi.
The radio talk show’s goals were to provide health education, disseminate accurate information on the importance of using condoms as dual protection against teenage pregnancy and STDs, debunk condom myths and misconceptions, and inform young people about the country’s high HIV/AIDS prevalence.
On the panel, there were two secondary school students, Daniel and Mary both from Wanale senior secondary school, Kairanya Edith, a Power To Youth change champion, and Sister Nakirya Florence, a health worker at UYAHF adolescents Health clinic as panelists.
During the discussion, the students brought up a number of myths and misconceptions that they believed prevent most teenagers from using condoms.
“Students claim that condoms reduce sexual pleasure, condom fluid causes cancer, and condoms can become stuck inside girls, causing them to die,” said Mary, the school’s head girl.
While Daniel claims that many of his classmates are uninterested in hearing about condoms,
“At school, the same students believe that having live sex makes you feel proud and manly. As a result, they are wary of condom use. ” Daniel was also revealed
Other reasons given by the young people during the show for not using condoms include the fact that some religions prohibit condom use, a lack of knowledge about proper condom use, and social stigma, among others. While dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions raised by the students, sister Florence explained that the use of condoms does make anyone barren or infertile, the fluids on the condom are clinically tested and proven so they are just lubricants to minimize dryness and have no effect on someone. And lastly, she said that erection is a natural process. It has nothing to do with whether you put on a condom or not.
Kairanya Edith, while presenting on the show, advocated for abstinence among young people, particularly those still in school, stating that when they reach the age of 18, they will be mature enough to make their own decisions.
“Whereas it is critical for you, the young people, to understand and know how to use condoms properly in order to prevent pregnancies and diseases, I encourage you to abstain and avoid pregnancy risks so that you can stay in school, but if you are unable to do so, ensure that you use condoms to stay safe.”
Three (3)listeners called in live on air during the show to ask questions about the topic.
Tom listening from Wagai inquired about how to obtain free condoms from UYAHF, while Mark from Pallisa inquired about why some women complain that condom fluid causes pain, and Emma from Maluku Adrah inquired about how UYAHF can assist sexually active adolescents in refraining from having sex.
In response to questions, Kairanya Edith encouraged people to visit the UYAHF ADH clinic in Half London for free condoms and to always engage in co-curricular activities to keep themselves busy and the mind occupied in order to avoid thoughts that lead to sexual desire. The show was extremely informative, and the students pledged to share what they learned with their classmates at school