Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
PlusNews Examines PSI’s Shift From Condom Promotion to Abstinence HIV Prevention Education in Togo
PlusNews on Thursday examined Population Services International's "shift" of the primary focus of its HIV prevention program in Togo from condom distribution to prevention education and abstinence messages aimed primarily at young people. PSI regularly has emphasized condom use in its Togo program and previously distributed condoms at no cost. However, the group now charges about $0.20 for a pack of four condoms in the country, and in July 2005 launched a "massive" abstinence advertising campaign, according to PlusNews. The campaign includes ads in the media and on the streets of the capital Lome with slogans such as, "A true man knows how to wait" and "A true woman knows how to wait and does not yield to pressure." PSI also has initiated clubs at 20 colleges across the country to assist women in coping with the pressure to have sex and in protecting themselves. "We do not wish to give people the impression that with a condom everything is allowed," PSI Resident Representative Maya Andrews said, adding, "For those who could be persuaded to use condoms, we managed to convince them, and today condoms are available to 95% of the population. We are now left with those who are difficult to convince." Despite the shift, PSI and other HIV/AIDS service organizations still believe that the complete ABC method, which stands for abstinence, be faithful and use condoms, is the most effective way of preventing the spread of HIV, PlusNews reports. A PSI study found about two-thirds of Togo residents between ages 15 and 25 reported already having had "their first sexual experience," according to PlusNews. About 700,000 PSI condoms were sold monthly in Togo, which has a population of about five million (PlusNews, 4/20).
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