The Liberian Women Empowerment Network (LIWEN) in collaboration with Action Aid Liberia, along with support from Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), over the weekend distributed condoms to 385 persons in Montserrado County, in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancies.
Josephine Godoe, Coordinator of Liberia HIV Network of Persons Living with HIV (LIBNEP+), told the recipients that the use of condoms in sexual relations will reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and other sexually transmitted diseases.
She said there are a huge number of people who still find it difficult to believe that HIV/AIDS is real and, as a result, has increased the spread of the virus in recent years.
She said the distribution of condoms as well as explaining to them while it is necessary to use condoms, will help reduce the spread of the virus in the country.
Madam Godoe explained to the beneficiaries that though she is HIV positive, she “uses condoms to prevent somebody from getting the virus. You cannot tell from someone’s appearance that he or she is living with HIV.”
Edith Z. M. Zoegar, LIWEN’s Program Officer, told recipients that the distribution campaign is intended to make Liberians condom friendly and to reduce the spread of the virus.
Madam Zoegar said that Montserrado County is heavily populated and that LIWEN is committed to the international obligation of UNAIDS as enshrined in the 2011 political declaration on HIV that seeks zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero news AIDS-related deaths.
According to the National Aids Commission (NAC), about 43,000 persons live with HIV in Liberia, with 39,000 being adults while 4,200 are children. The NAC estimates that 2,900 persons are infected with HIV annually in the country, with Montserrado County accounting for higher new cases.
LIWEN is a not-for-profit organization of women living with HIV/AIDS that envisions a society in which women living with the virus can enjoy equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities regardless of their status.
LIWEN was established following a series of consultative meetings in 2006; it is the only network for HIV positive women in Liberia.
The network’s mission is to mobilize Liberian women living with HIV/AIDS for a common cause, which is to fight against the virus as well as its effects on women.