Awareness Campaign on the Usage of Female Condoms
Minister Uys said through this initiative the Department of Health aims to:
- Promote the knowledge, wide acceptance and use of the female condom.
- Empower women to make more informed choices about their own sexual health.
- Honour women achievers, trendsetters and visionaries in their communities.
- Create a platform for mothers and daughters to discuss the equality of women and their right to control their own sexual health.
Non-profit organisations such as Female Health Foundation (FHF), National South African Workers Welfare (NASAWW), Planned Parenthood Association (PPASA) and Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) will all join hands along with the Department and the City of Cape Town in the fight against HIV/Aids. The event will take place in the Arabella Sheraton and commences at 12:45.
"The initiative behind this function is to give women together with men, an equal opportunity to prevent sexually transmitted infections including HIV and also to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Women will be encouraged to speak freely and openly about the importance of protecting themselves against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV and unwanted pregnancy," said Pierre Uys.
With the enhanced empowerment of women and the increased use of the female condom as an alternative choice to the male condom, the incidence of STIs, including HIV, is expected to decrease over a period of time. "The National Department of Health is investing more than R130m per year to ensure sufficient supplies of condoms, of highest quality SABS standards, free of charge to the public," Uys said.
During 2005/2006, the National Department of Health supplied 206,000 female condoms to the Western Cape. Of these 120,613 were distributed to the current sites. There are at present 72 sites with the intention to expand these sites to even more in 2006/2007 to improve distribution and access.
"City Health has distributed a total of 21m. male condoms. However distribution of the more expensive female condoms has been restricted to 21 clinics involved in a pilot project where staff have been specially trained. The intention is to make the female condom more widely known to both women and men, and more easily accessible to women," said Dr Ivan Toms, City Health Director.
Some STIs are symptomatic and are treated in Public Health Facilities, Private Health Facilities and by Traditional Healer Practitioners. Studies indicate that 50% of STIs are asymptomatic. The burden caused by STIs on the HIV epidemic is enormous as STIs increase the risk of becoming infected with HIV and the prevention, diagnosis and early treatment of STIs is a high priority.
The Directorate Communications
Office of the Superintendent of Health, Western Cape
Department of Health
Tel: 021 483 3235
Herman van der Westhuizen
Media Liaison Officer to the Minister of Health
Tel: 021 483 2627