Home » Health Services » Zimbabweans Shun Free Condoms, Says Govt Official

THE ministry of health has expressed concern at the low uptake of condoms provided for free in public health institutions with most people apparently opting for those sold by vendors on the streets.

Free condom distribution is one of the strategies government is using to reduce HIV infections.

However, the Head of TB and HIV in the Health and Child Care Ministry, Dr Owen Mugurungi said some locals were risking their health by opting to buy condoms and even HIV drugs from the streets instead of using those provided by government for free.

“The danger of buying such products, including drugs, is that you do not know how long they were been exposed to heat which compromises their quality, and the expiry dates.

“So, we are saying it’s recommended for people to use the drugs and condoms which government provides,” Dr Mugurungi told NewZimbabwe.com Monday on the side-lines of a Health Forum organized by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Right’s AIDS Unit.

He said some locals appear to have less confidence in free condoms and drugs from the government, adding that he had received reports of people living with HIV preferring to buy ARVs from the black market.

Vendors across the country do brisk business selling condoms at the door steps of night clubs and beer halls, targeting patrons as they leave the drinking holes with the loved ones or one night stands.

Tendekai (not his real name), who sells cigarettes, eggs and condoms at Club Elizabeth in central Harare, told NewZimbabwe.com that he was making a tidy profit from selling condoms.

He said, at night, a pack of four condoms cost $1 on the streets.

“I sell lots of them during weekends when most people visit the club for leisure,” he said.

“I make more money from condoms than boiled eggs in the late hours of the night during weekends

“I think the reason why most patrons buy our condoms is that, in the night club, flavoured condoms cost $2 and above.”

Source : New Zimbabwe