Female condoms & HIV PREVENTION

QASA's Rolling+ programme is committed not only to demonstrating the correct use of the male latex condom in its regular workshops for people with a disability, but also to encouraging the use of the female condoms.

During these workshops, many female participants relate stories of how they struggle to obtain female condoms at their local health clinic. This is due, in part, to a perception tha tpeople with disabilities do not engage in sex. In addition, many clinics either do not stock female condoms or limit the number the public can take with claims that they are too expensive. This raises the issue of the Department's commitment to supporting women in taking responsibility for their own sexual reproductive health.

Whilst recognising that the female condom is more costly to produce, we encourage the women with whom we work to demand that theybe given the right to make their own decisions about how they wish to protectthemselves again STIs (including HIV).

At Rolling+ we teach that, because of differences in physiology, women are twice as likely to contract HIV as men, when exposed to it. We emphasise that the Female Condom has been around for decades, it works and can protect women and men from HIV.

We recognise that, although most primary modes of HIV prevention require the cooperation of the male partner, women are often unable to protect themselves by negotiating the use of a male condom by their partners. In addition, inequality and violence also limit women's options and ability to protect their own health.

We know there is a virus that causes a disease that could be prevented if men used condoms. The question we must ask ourselves is: why, after close on a decade of female condom programming in South Africa, do we continue to prescribe to women what they should desire when it pertains to their sexual health?