Condom lubricants used to relieve arthritis



THABA-TSEKA – Freely distributed condoms meant to reduce the spread of HIV in Thaba-Tseka are being used by elderly arthritis patients to relieve pain, Public Eye has learnt. While measures to fight the spread of HIV have intensified, it has emerged that condoms are not only being used for safe sex but also as a home remedy for arthritis in the district.

“You can see them during their pay-day, rushing to places where condoms are kept in boxes where you will find them collecting them, saying they are going to use them to treat pain on their knees,” a source who refused to be identified said.

A group of pensioners, especially on particular dates when they collect their old age pension, can be seen going to places where condoms are found where they take them to their homes, claiming that these help them to ease arthritis.

’Malintle ’Muso (73), of Ha-Dinizulu in Thaba-Tseka, said she collects condoms in large boxes to use them to ease the pain that sometimes gets out of control. Since she was diagnosed with arthritis, she says she hardly uses the medication that she is given to help her beat arthritis.

Although she knows that condom lubricants do not completely cure her arthritis, she says she feels great relief from the painful parts after using them.

“It was in 2019 when the doctors told me that I have arthritis but I have been using condom lubricants and prefer them more than the medication that they give me,” she said.

’Muso is now in the third year of consecutively using the lubricants on her knees and does not see herself stopping any time soon unless health experts bring some stronger remedy than what she has been using.

She further appealed to the responsible ministry, to conduct thorough research and examine the hidden truth behind the miraculous oil that is on the products or, at the very least, allow them to use this unorthodox remedy peacefully.

“I am saying this because when you get to the clinics, health professionals will tell you that you are not supposed to use the condom lubricants and, instead, encourage them to use the recommended medicines. “We have found ourselves a cure; we need to be given permission to cure ourselves, free of charge, and also be provided with condoms in bulks,” she added.

To access them she normally goes to selected areas where these packages are put, then takes one or two boxes, especially in winter, depending on the time of the year, because in summer, the struggle with the pain is less intense. Since the pain and stiffness worsens with age, she says she does not see herself stopping to use what she calls the cheapest way to beat arthritis anytime, as long as the government does not bring better solutions.

In some instances, in the same district, other women use the condom lubricant to clean floors, while young boys use the ring found on female condoms as a wrist band. However, a village health worker said they have embarked on a programme aimed at addressing condom related issues, they distribute condoms, and give people the correct information on the use of condoms.

She said she is not aware that there are people who take the condoms for use in other things. However, she appealed to people stop rubbing the contraceptives on their knees to ease joint pain. Correctly used, condoms are a form of contraception that protect against most STIs as well as unwanted pregnancy.

According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), condoms are a critical component in a comprehensive and sustainable approach to the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and are effective for preventing unintended pregnancies. Studies have also shown that there is no scientific evidence to suggest condom lubricants can cure arthritis, and the concern now is that condoms are wasted and not used for rightful purposes.

The district has implemented a condom task team, which is working to distribute condoms alongside information on HIV, in taverns, higher learning institutions, correctional services, and every health facility excluding Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL), facilities, because they are church facilities.

HIV clinical mentor ’Mantahli Lebitsa said the team consists of a public health nurse, SRH mentor, health inspector and senior councilor, among others, to ensure that condoms reach their clients in all the respective areas. Free condoms are distributed by partners to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in the country.

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