Recently, Parliamentarians were debating whether or not to import more condoms, as the country had run out of them. One may wonder why the condom shortage made headlines.
But according to Reproductive Health Uganda's communication and public relations coordinator, Simon Mugenyi, condoms are one of the most popular contraceptives in Uganda. "The demand for condoms is very high," he adds.
How many people use condoms?
Recent statistics (February to April 2013) from the Uganda Health Marketing Group and National Medical Stores, the official suppliers of condoms in Uganda, reveal that the consumption of male condoms was roughly 7.78 million, while the female condom was at 230,000.
Mugenyi says as much as condoms are not 100% effective, for instance, they can burst if stored badly such as by exposing them to the direct sun, there are other ways of preventing and minimising the spread of HIV such as through abstinence.
Mugenyi says much as condoms are not 100% protective, they have helped to reduce sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS. Condoms have also been instrumental in encouraging safe sex, he adds.
Joshua Wamboga, the communications officer at The Uganda AIDS Support Organisation, says certain behavioural tendencies such as unfaithfulness and complacency have led a rise in HIV infections. For instance, when people who are dating get so used to each other, they take condoms for granted and end up having unprotected sex, exposing them to HIV/AIDS.
Some people have also misunderstood the concept of managing HIV/AIDS using anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). They believe that as long ARVs are available, they do not have to use condoms because they are assured of living longer.
Peer pressure, especially among teenagers, has also fuelled HIV infections, mainly because they engage in sex at an early age and cannot access condoms at school.