When you put your trust in condoms as contraceptives and as safeguards against contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and it does not turn out this way because of some defects, frustrations are bound to rise. These are the frustrations that have been expressed by some Zimbabwean men, who say that condoms being distributed are too small for them and as a result of this they often burst during sex.
Men from a small rural town called Gutu in Zimbabwe have said that the condoms being distributed to them are too small for their manhood, and have appealed with condom manufacturers to supply them with larger-sized products. They said that the condoms available to them in beer taverns and shops were "too small for them."
The men from Mpandawana Growth Point in Gutu have since expressed how they are vulnerable to the risks of contracting STIs as some of the condoms often burst during sex. Mpandawana is a large service centre in Gutu, and the National Aids Council (NAC) in Zimbabwe has identified the area as a "hot spot" for new STIs in the Masvingo Province as a whole. The area is frequented by commercial sex workers.
In February, former health minister David Parirenyatwa challenged local manufacturers to produce condoms so as "to address concerns over the size of condoms imported from China". Parirenyatwa urged condom manufactures to make condoms that were suitable for Zimbabwean men. At that time, Parirenyatwa made note of the fact that young people in Southern Africa complained about imported condoms saying they were too small for them.
A resident from the Mpandawana area aired his concerns about the condoms. “Especially those free packed ones usually in a white package with a human being image. It seems they are becoming smaller and smaller,” Clifton Moyo said. “Sometimes they just tear off before I could fully fit them on. Worse off if one tries to fit into them on by force, you get shocked to discover after finishing your sexual intercourse that you are left with just the ring around your manhood.”
To Clifton Moyo, these experiences are putting the lives of the users' wives at grave risk. Another resident, Tafadzwa Mazhawi, vented his frustrations to a delegate from the National Aids Council who had visited the area. “But why are you (NAC) giving us these small condoms,” he said, adding, “I have stopped using them because I have had three of the type bursting during sex.”
The economic difficulties that Zimbabwe has been undergoing of late, which saw massive hikes in prices, has also worsened the situation, according to Tafadzwa Mazhawi. “Prices here have gone up to about $3 for a packet of three. This means that the fight against the spread of HIV is going backwards,” Mazhawi said.
The centrality of condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS is of a huge magnitude. Condoms play a key part in the efforts employed by NGOs and other civil society organisations to combat HIV/AIDS.
Header Image Credit - Healthline