POLICE action in confiscating condoms from prostitutes during arrests could fuel HIV infections in the province, Limpopo MEC for Health Dr Phophi
Ramathuba has warned. Ramathuba called for debate on the business of prostitution and how police’s confiscation of the condoms could hurt the fight against HIV/Aids.
South Africa has one of the worst HIV infection rates in the country and has the biggest population of people living with the disease. Ramathuba was addressing members of the National Council of Province in Polokwane on Tuesday, and added that while it makes sense to confiscate evidence, the threat of HIV was a concern as prostitutes whose condoms were taken still went on the job. She told the parliamentarians that the newly introduced condoms are part of government’s plan to fight the spread of HIV/Aids and other related diseases.
“It’s a contradiction that when police find prostitutes with condoms they confiscate them, saying it is evidence that you are involved in illegal trade. But what we are saying is that while you confiscate the condoms, the prostitute are not going to stop (working),” said Ramathuba. She said the concern was raised during her interaction with prostitutes in the province. Ramathuba praised government’s new contraceptive programme as timely intervention with capacity to stop pregnancy for three years. But she warned that despite efforts by government, some women have abandoned birth control pills saying their partners complain that contraceptives made them sick.
“Women are now using abortion as contraception and that’s why we lose some during the process. we ask why they fall pregnant with all these available types of contraception, they say their husbands feel sick when they use contraceptives.”Limpopo like other provinces in the country, has failed to meet the Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality, and is struggling to eliminate street abortions and the use of illegal pills.