BLANTYRE--Female condoms aren't a hit in Malawi and health experts are having problems trying to convince women to use them.
Blame it on sex culture and the "noise" it makes during intercourse, the women themselves and health experts say.
"Culturally, sex in Malawi is initiated by men and this gives them more power to negotiate the kind of sex they want...and often they are discouraged by the women who propose they use a condom," Mary Kumbweza-Banda, chairperson of the National Aids Commission, was quoted by the Daily Times as saying.
This was revealed after she toured Chikhwawa when the world celebrated the first Global Female Condom day on Wednesday. The day was aimed at promoting the use of the female condom.
The NAC chair was told the latex was being ignored by men because it makes " a lot of noise" during intercourse, while women also complain their partners call them "prostitutes" if they initiated the idea of using a condom.
Banda said it was "time cultures on sex were reviewed to give women powers of suggesting what kind of safe sex strategy they prefer at a particular time. This battle cannot be won one-sided. We need both sexes to be empowered on safe sex and its tools."
In a country where HIV and Aids infections are high, female condoms are meant to stem the spread of the virus and other STDs.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction without acknowledgment prohibited.