Elderly Ugandans ashamed of buying condoms
Older persons are ashamed of buying condoms and this has led to a rise in the HIV/AIDS prevalence among this age group.
This was revealed during a two-day workshop held in Kampala whose theme was preventing HIV/AIDS among the older persons and mitigating its impact in multi-generational households.
According to John Charles Orach, chairperson of National Network for Older Persons in Uganda, the pandemic among old people is on the rise in the country and this is because the ABC strategy is failing them.
“It is very hard for a person who is already married to abstain from sex and some married people have got more than one sexual partner. This practically makes it hard for them to be faithful,” Orach said.
He added that some married people may cheat on their spouses thus exposing their faithful partners to HIV/AIDS and other related sexual diseases.
Orach also said that some elderly people find it difficult and rather embarrassing to go to shops to buy condoms. He said most people who sell condoms are young adults and often laugh when an old person asks for a condom.
“Of the ABC strategy, the C would really work for the elderly but the problem is the stigma they get from shop counters that sell condoms. The moment you say you want a condom, the person selling it looks at your face and when they notice you are old, the seller laughs and asks where at your age you are taking the condoms,”Orach concluded.
Speaking at the same workshop, Roger Segawa, the project manager for Uganda Reach the Aged Association (URAA) a Non-Governmental Organization based in Kasese said according to a survey they carried out in 2008 seeking to know how many older persons knew about HIV/AIDS preventative measures, a few did.
“In our survey, 90% of the older persons in Kasese said had never used a condom and were not aware of the safe sex preventative measures,” says Orach.
He said the increase in HIV/AIDS among the elderly is because they are still very sexually active especially the men and since some of their sexual partners (the female) have aged, they may lose interest in sex.
The old men will go looking for solace from young women and end up contracting the disease and in turn may infect their old wives.
He also said in their advocacy activities in Kasese, some old persons agreed to test for HIV/AIDS and found out that 7.5% of them are HIV positive and only10% of them are accessing ARVS.
He called upon all stake holders to increase the sensitization among the elderly informing them how they are also prone to catching HIV/AIDS, educate them about the use of condoms and making them available in places they can access without being laughed at, going for testing and counseling.