The National AIDS and STIs Control Programme (NACP) has urged young people to value the use of condoms.
This is because they are an important tool in family planning, sexual and reproductive health management.
Dr Stephen Ayisi-Addo, the Programme Manager NACP, said data had shown that anytime condom distribution was low in the country, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) cases increased and that the prevalence of HIV among STI clients was 12 per cent compared to the general HIV population of 1.7 per cent and charged the youth to make condoms their companion.
He gave the advice at the launch of the 2022 National Family Planning Week on the theme: “Breaking Myths and Misconceptions on Family Planning.”
The aim is to mobilise support to shape the future.
The Programme Manager said: “It is not true that there is HIV in contraceptive pills and injectables. It is rather true that if you don’t use condoms, you are at a higher risk of getting HIV.”
He said without using a condom, one could prevent pregnancy but not HIV.
“Young people rush for emergency pills and forget that they must use condoms to prevent STIs and HIV.
“Pregnant women who have unprotected sex have HIV prevalence of two per cent. So, the value of condoms, which is an important tool in family planning and sexual and reproductive health should not be underestimated to enable the country to achieve some progress.”
Dr Ayisi-Addo said indications were that HIV risk was associated with multiple pregnancies.
“At our last survey, people who have been pregnant five times had prevalence of about 3.4 per cent compared to those who were pregnant once of 1.4 per cent.
“The reason is that if you have more pregnancies then it means you are having more unprotected sex and you have higher risk.
“We also noticed that if the relationship is formal, is better with 2.1 per cent than people who are cohabiting and singles who engage in unprotected sex,” he added.
He therefore advised the youth to use contraceptives correctly, consistently, and continuously to be free from unwanted pregnancy and HIV to enable them to make informed choices for better survival and development.
The Family Planning Week, which started on September 26, 2022, is expected to end on October 2, 2022, with several activities outlined by the Ghana Health Service and stakeholder partners to create awareness on family planning.
Some of the activities outlined are media and stakeholder engagement meetings, television and radio discussions, provision of free services at selected locations, health talks to organised groups, floats and other community mobilisation and awareness creation across the country.