“Only prostitutes carry condoms”-What Sunday Sun survey reveals
A front page piece in the Sunday Sun’s Sunlife section took the question “Who should carry the condom?” to the street and social media, not only normalising condom use but also showing us where we stand when it comes to women’s ability to negotiate protection.
Women’s compromised ability to insist on condom use has long been established as one of the major drivers of an HIV epidemic that disproportionately affects women and girls.
Many of the respondents in the Sunday Sun’s survey who answered that women should carry condoms factored this in when answering the question.
The majority of the people quoted in the article felt that women should carry condoms as it would go some way towards getting their sexual partners to wear them. As one man put it, “there are men who refuse to use them and make excuses that they forgot to bring them. I say viva to women who carry condoms, viva!”
Some people also cited high HIV prevalence as the main reason why women should keep a condom on hand, suggesting that the effectiveness of condoms for HIV prevention is well known among the people who weighed in on the matter.
However despite the positive feedback from most people, for others this was a contentious issue. Some respondents expressed that women who carried condoms were ‘loose’, too forward and that they would be labelled as prostitutes.
Responses that condemned women for carrying condoms remind us that women are still facing enormous social challenges when it comes to protecting themselves against HIV.
However just by publishing this article the Sunday Sun is helping to normalise healty sexual behaviour, promoting condom use and getting people to open up and have discussions around women, men and sexual health.