Rural HIV Support Groups Encourage Female Condom Use Through Art

By  Farai Maposa

Many HIV support groups that are supported by the Women AIDS Support Network (WASN) are using dramas, poems and songs among many other artforms to teach other females whether HIV positive or negative on the advantages of using a female condom.

Dorothy Marongwe, assistant programs officer of Women AIDS Support Network, said they are working with HIV support groups from Gokwe and Chivhu where the education on the female condom has scored much success.

“As WASN we feel delighted by the initiatives that most of the support groups have done in encouraging women whether those infected or not on how the female condom can be very useful in HIV prevention.

“Since you know women are disadvantaged in making sure that they negotiate safe sex it becomes apparent that the female condom use is prioritised and through doing dramas, plays and songs that promote the female condoms we are seeing a magnificent change in HIV prevention in these areas,” she said.

Marongwe also highlighted that the female condom is also important in ensuring re-infection is lowered.

“We have seen many people not reacting to A.R.T (Anti-Retroviral Treatment) because of re-infection so by spreading such a message the results will be huge,” added Marongwe.

The HIV support groups are also into various income-generating projects like soap-making, baking   and money lending which help them to cushion themselves from poverty and also enable them to have income to support their dietary needs.

One support group called  Doneni  HIV Fighters  which is an all-women  group is reportedly now owning a grinding mill and has enabled their community to access the grinding mill on their doorsteps as prior to that they had to endure long distances.

 

Zimbabwe has scaled up its HIV prevention programmes through partnership with various international and non-governmental organisations but many health experts say there is still a lot to be done in areas like access to medication and many other pragmatic areas.