‘Males more reluctant to use condoms’

MAKERESEMESE LETUKA

MASERU – The Lesotho Pleasure Baseline Reports statistics reveal that adolescence males are reluctant to use condoms. The report is part of two reports launched by the Sesotho Media & Development (SM&D) in Maseru this week. The reports are focused on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) under the project ‘Using facilitated film discussions to strengthen youth-driven informed demand, uptake and linkage to SRHR services’.

One of the reports’ statistics show that 70 percent of adolescent men said they do not enjoy sex with a condom, while 78 percent of females said they enjoy the use of condoms. When one considers this, it means that even though 78.6 percent of females said they enjoy sex with condoms, the decision on whether or not to use condoms or other contraceptives is mainly controlled by the 70 percent of males who generally do not enjoy sex with condoms.

This is compounded by the fact that a previous study by the UNAIDS has found that four in every 10 males in Lesotho have multiple concurrent sexual partners, and this can begin to give an insight into why unsafe sex remains prevalent despite women and girls being aware that sex can still be pleasurable using a condom. The female gender still experiences a disproportionately higher HIV prevalence.

SM&D executive director, ’Mamolefe Petlane, says the project was undertaken after finding out that it is taboo in Lesotho to talk about SRHR, and “that is why we are helping adolescence and youth to know and be able to access SRHR services.” “With this project we are all about advancing youth engagement in SRHR, that is why even the facilitators are the youth and are also active in their community,” said Bohlale Sentšo SM&D Programmes officer.

The goal of this pilot initiative is to target youth, including adolescent girls and boys and young adults with ‘Pleasure Positive Approach’ discussions to create safe space where youth can discuss sex related topics, and equip individuals amongst marginalised groups reached by the programme into feeling empowered to claim safe, consensual and pleasurable sexual lives after the project.

This survey, therefore, seeks to establish a baseline on views and opinions of youth who have been reached by the project. The project is being implemented by the 12 youth – six boys and six girls – with technical support from SM&D. The project will conclude in September 2022, where a follow-up, End Line Evaluation/Survey will also be conducted to assess change in attitudes, perceptions, behaviours and knowledge.

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