Mashonaland West Province has recorded a steady increase in condom uptake in the second quarter of the year among adolescents owing to lack of activity during the period in review.
According to the Adolescence Sexual Reproductive Health quarterly report, the province recorded 2 329 255 from 2 338 57.
In a telephone interview, Provincial Marketing and Communications Officer Ansetus Dongo confirmed that there was a high condom uptake in the province during the Government imposed lockdown.
“There was a high condom uptake for specifically male than female condoms. The record in increase was deliberate as we all know that most traditional entertainment like bars were dry or closed. Plus the idleness from lockdown made us to anticipate higher uptake,” he said.
Condoms are an important component of HIV prevention in Zimbabwe but their increased use among adolescents is a cause for concern as it demonstrates the high levels of sexual indulgence .
Besides abstinence and faithfulness the use of condoms is one of the first ways of reducing sexually transmitted infections including HIV ever to be used.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, a total of 2 million male and 200 thousand female condoms are distributed across the country.
Adolescent girls and young women are at high risk of HIV since they face barriers in family planning which at times results in unintended teenage pregnancies.
The province is expecting a sharp increase in teenage pregnancy but Dongo said they are still trying to get more statistics from the ground.
“We are still trying to get more information from the ground but according to other sources teen pregnancies increased during lockdown,” said Dongo.
Moline Mapera, from Zvimba said rural families were idle during lockdown which predisposed them to sexual activity.
“The lock-down has come with various surprises. We have seen a lot of teenage pregnancies in our communities. We were not expecting that this could happen. Most parents fear opening up on or reporting these cases. This may end up affecting the girl child negatively,” she said,”
The Ministry of Health and Child Care introduced the Condomize Campaigns that aim to promote the use of condoms and improve access to a wide variety of condoms across different societies.
Zimbabwe has relatively high populations in the reproductive age group of 15-49 (48%) and is one of the countries hardest hit by HIV in the region with a total of 1,3 million people living with HIV.