….For Sexually Active Population in Liberia
By: Necus M. Andrews
Partners in the National HIV and AIDS response have validated a newly developed condom policy for sexually active population in Liberia, especially adolescents.
The Liberia National Policy on Condoms has been developed in the light of all those threatened by HIV and AIDS, as well as other sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
Dr. Ivan F. Camanor, Chairman of the National AIDS Commission (NAC) told the validation meeting that the policy was crafted based on the need that prevention and contraception are most effective when serving the needs of people who practice or are at risk of practicing high-risk behaviours.
Dr. Camanor is quoted in the introduction of the Policy as saying that when combined with education and behaviour change, condoms can be a powerful and cost effective antidote to HIV and ADS.
He said condoms play an important role of preventing the sexual spread of HIV and unwanted pregnancy among young girls and sexually active population.
With regards to family planning purposes, the NAC Boss said condoms expand the choice; have no medical side effects and provide dual protection.
“Countries with successful results in responding to HIV and AIDS have acquired commitment to promote condoms from all sectors of their societies including political, religious, business, social interest, family, community and academic leaders and from young people in particular,” he said.
Dr. Camanor: “In view of overcoming obstacles that hinder consistent and correct utilization of condoms, I call on all of our partners to contribute as effectively as possible to the successful implementation of this policy by responding to the realities of contemporary Liberia, its tradition as well as its transition, and to create an ambiance of frank and yet respectful public dialogue about a subject that is still regarded as a taboo by many”.
Madam Queenie K. Nah, National Consultant hired to develop the document said when approved, the policy will play a significant role in encouraging the placement of condoms into a positive context of responsible behaviour and to provide a platform to facilitate equal access without stigma.
Following presentation of the document, key partners in the country’s HIV and AIDS response at the meeting highlighted the critical need for such document to be available in the country for preventive services.
The partners representing key relevant institutions, including Ministries of Health, Defense, Youths and Sports, Liberia Network of Persons living with HIV, World Health Organization, Anti-AIDS Media Network and National AIDS Commission believe that the policy place condoms in their rightful context of an appropriate definition of sexuality and sexual reproductive health which relies on education about sexuality, sexual reproductive health.
According to them this would serve as the starting point of an effective program, seeking to increase correct and consistent condom use in Liberia.