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Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Can you buy condoms for your partner? Abuja women react

A cross section of women in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have expressed views on whether or not they could buy condom for use with their partners. The use of condoms is widely encouraged by the government and health organisations around the world to prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and unplanned pregnancy.

However, in a developing and conservative society such as Nigeria, many see it as something that should be provided by the male and not the female because of stigma.

The women, who spoke in separate interviews, gave reasons why they could procure or otherwise, condom in retail shops for their partners. Mrs Bunmi Oluokun, a house wife, said her husband, a pastor, always find it difficult to ask for condom in a shop, as he may be seen as having extra marital affairs.

“Since he does not buy and I need it for birth control, I have to go for it. “I don’t want to have children more than I can care for, so I choose to pay the price.

“There is nothing wrong with a woman buying condom, depending on the situation,’’ she said Miss Mercy Aigbe, a student of the University of Abuja, said although she was not married, buying condom could be one of the most difficult things for her.

“If you enter a retail shop as a single lady and ask for a condom, many see you as being promiscuous. “With this at the back of the mind of every female, she has every reason to shy away from purchasing condom herself.

“But since I am not ready for pregnancy and maybe any unpleasant consequence of premarital sex, I provide condom for my man sometimes. “I do so by going to areas where I am not known to buy it to avoid any kind of stigma,’’ she explained.

Another resident, Mrs Dorothy Agu, a business woman, said she could not go to a shop to buy condom no matter the need. She said that buying condom as a female made one to appear “irresponsible and to be disrespected’’.

“Condom is not a daily commodity needed in the home, I am a married woman and it is expected that I should have no business with using condom, let alone buying it. “In fact, how will the seller look at me?

He or she will definitely see me as an irresponsible and loose woman. “I think condoms are meant for singles to avoid unwanted pregnancy and diseases.

“As for me, I even need more children adding to the two that I have, so I do not have need for condoms,” she said. Similarly, Miss Judith Asoba, a banker, said she cannot go to shop to buy condom for reasons best known to her.

According to her, using condom is not bad but because of the society we are in, people tend to be shy when purchasing it, especially women. In her own opinion, Miss Nancy Edozie, a student in a tertiary institution, said that condom was a thing of choice. “I am not shy to get a condom from a pharmacy store, even as most people see it as stigma.

“The impression people create is that a lady who buys it is filthy. To be sincere it is better to get the stigma than getting infections or unwanted pregnancy. “The society should get wiser,’’ she said.

Mr Kingsley Douglas, a pharmacist and operator of a pharmaceutical shop in Wuse, said that only a few female patronised his shop for condom. “Women are shy from buying such things because they feel that they will be look down upon. “In fact, when some women come in to the shop, rather than asking for condom, they will be dragging feet.

“Some wait till no other customer is around before they ask while some will ask for other medicine which they do not need before hitting the nail on the head. “But, men always feel very free to ask and buy.

They even ask for different types and their specifications,’’ he said. Meanwhile, Dr Regina Okoye, a medical doctor, has advised that women should feel free to enter shops to buy condom when in need.

According to her, the country has evolved above the perceived stigma that people see in buying condoms. “Besides, it is better to get the condom under whatever stigma than STD and unwanted pregnancy,’’ she said.







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