As various governments and health institutions battle with the issues of HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancies, several strategies have been introduced over the years to promote and encourage safe sex practices. One of those initiatives has been to make contraceptive products such as condoms more appealing, especially young people.
The Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) in conjunction with Population Services International/ Caribbean has launched a line of condoms called Cool Condoms just in time for the Carnival season, when there is heightened sexual activity.
FPATT President, Dr Jacqueline Sharpe said in the Caribbean including Trinidad and Tobago, low condom use has been identified as one of the major factors impeding the control and prevention of HIV/AIDS and pregnancy. In proposing a regional model condom policy, she said the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) noted that despite relatively wide condom distribution mechanisms, the accessibility and acceptance of condoms remains limited in most Caribbean countries.
She quoted: “Those populations particularly who are most at risk of infection or unintended pregnancy. Access to condoms is difficult for sex workers and for men who have sex with men due to social stigma and discrimination.
Collective disapproval, adverse legislation and service norms are among the main causes hampering condom access for sexually active adolescents. Gender relationships, sexual culture and sex education in the Caribbean do not sufficiently support preventive behaviour based on a realistic personal risk assessment.”