The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) says concern about unprotected sex was the main reason why a total of 1,198 young people sought HIV testing during a rapid testing programme to mark International Condom Day last week.
The organisation tested 820 men and 378 women during the annual awareness event at the Mandevu Mutambe ground in Lusaka on Saturday (February 16) and a ‘flashmob’ event at Lusaka’s Intercity Bus Station and City Market on Valentine’s Day (February 14).
According to a research conducted by the AHF disclosed that some 543 of those tested said their main reason for wanting to know their status was because they were worried about their having had unprotected sex.
AHF also reported that 114 people or 9.5 percent of those tested were found to be HIV-positive and were referred for treatment and care.
AHF also distributed 93,600 free Love-branded condoms during the two-day initiative, directly addressing young people’s concerns about the risks from having unprotected sex.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) initiative was designed to mark International Condom Day and was part of a worldwide drive to give away nearly half a million free condoms to the public in 21 countries, along with important messages on HIV prevention.
In Zambia, some 30 young people gathered on Valentine’s Day for a dynamic ‘flashmob’ rapid-fire distribution, which was accompanied by a free HIV testing service.
The aim was to draw attention to the benefits of condoms, and also of lubrication during sexual intercourse in order to prevent condom breakages.
That was followed on Saturday by the Mandevu event, launched with a march-past led by a brass band.
AHF Country Program Manager for Zambia, Victoria Kalota stated that correct and consistent use of condoms was an important way to prevent the transmission of HIV and AIDS.
“We wanted to take that message to the heart of the community in central Lusaka, in a fresh, youthful manner that appealed to a new generation of sexually active men and women,” Our emphasis in 2013 is getting back to ‘ABC’ – abstinence, be faithful, and condoms,” Ms Kalota said.