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N Touch
Saturday 20 January 2018
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Report: Set up condom vending machines

A recommendation has been made to the National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) for the implementation of condom vending machines and the development of a comprehensive policy on condom distribution.

The recommendations are contained in a report from Population Services International (PSI) which was enlisted by the NACC to do a condom social marketing programme. It spanned two years and PSI presented its final report to the NACC technical director Carol-Ann Senah yesterday at a stakeholders meeting at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s. The report dealt with “Condom Use, Training, Advocacy and Distribution in TT.”

Oyeleye Adeniyi, project manager, PSI, said the project’s main objectives were to increase awareness among sexually active young females and males with concurrent, multiple relationships in communities, reduce the incidence of HIV through comprehensive education and information, decrease barriers to condom use and provide support to targetted individuals.

The project also sought to address the issues of transactional and cross-generational multiple sexual relationships. “We found that it was very prominent among young people in TT,” Adeniyi said.

Research to get an understanding of “transactional sex” found that sex was seen as a commodity.

“Sex without financial gain is seen as aberrant and abnormal. If you are having sex you must get something in return and you must get some financial gain,” said Ava Rampersad, technical and research officer with PSI. Rampersad said Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research (PEER) began research in December 2007 in two communities, Pt Fortin and Sea Lots, with the aim of understanding “transactional sex” and “cross generational relationships among females 16 to 24 years old in Trinidad.”

Theatre in Education focus groups for males were done in Pt Fortin, Sea Lots and La Brea. This was to understand male perception about relationships and to develop behaviour change intervention and media campaign targetting men. The research found that both the south and north communities had similar perceptions.

“Single men saw relationships as short term endeavours and men had clear definitions of what the roles of women were,” Rampersad said, adding that both married and single men said they did not use condoms regularly and consistently. She said interventions developed had to reinforce a change in behaviour in condom use and with partners. “Many men did not value condom and condom use,” she said.

The study recommended the need for condoms to be more accessible at places such as bars, fetes and groceries. PSI’s Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) also targetted commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men and the uniformed population (training was provided to selected regional commanders and staff, Civilian Conservation Corps, Fire Service officers of Crown Point) to be BCC educators. More than 5,000 condoms were distributed in education and demonstration sessions with sex workers.

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