The World Population Foundation (WPF), which aims to encourage sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout the world, has advocated for the use of female condoms in Pakistan, where, as per official figures, only 4000 of the total 80,000 HIV/AIDS cases have been registered.
WPF programme manager in Pakistan Cyma Ashraf said that it was high time female condoms were used in Pakistan to give women a right to decide in their lives.
"The aim of female condoms is empowering women so they do not have to depend on men for protection against STIs and pregnancies. It is high time to give women liberty and right to make choices in their lives," the Daily Times quoted her as saying in an interview.
She said that though much expensive and less common, female condoms could protect women from HIV, sexually transmittable infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies.
Cyma, a population welfare expert, said that female condoms with better results had recently been introduced to western markets. Pakistan, being a conservative society, did not allow an enabling environment to deal with the issues related to sexual and reproductive health and women rights, she said and added that hence, women faced severe problems, especially when it came to their sexual and reproductive health.
Ashraf said the issue of HIV and AIDS was closely linked with the issue of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and called for integration of courses to create awareness of HIV and AIDS in syllabus at schools to sensitise young minds to the disease.