Promoting Female Condoms in HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centres in Kenya
Reproductive Health Matters
Promotion of male condoms and voluntary counselling and testing for HIV (VCT) have been cornerstones of Kenya's fight against the HIV epidemic. This paper argues that there is an urgent need to promote the female condom in Kenya through VCT centres, which are rapidly being scaled-up across the country and are reaching increasingly large numbers of people. Training of counsellors using a vaginal demonstration model is needed, as well an adequate supply of free female condoms. In a study in five
... In a study in five VCT centres, however, counsellors reported that most people they counselled believed female condoms were "not as good" as male condoms. In fact, many clients had little or no knowledge or experience of female condoms. Counsellors' knowledge too was largely based on hearsay; most felt constrained by lack of experience and had many doubts about female condoms, which need addressing. Additional areas that require attention in training include how to re-use female condoms and the value of female condoms for contraception. VCT counsellors in Kenya already promote male condoms as a routine part of risk reduction counselling alongside HIV testing. This cadre, trained in client-centred approaches, has the potential to champion female condoms as well, to better support the right to a healthy and safe sex life. A 2006 Reproductive Health Matters. All rights reserved.