Zimbabwe: Hair Salons Come to Rescue of Female Condom

PSI Zimbabwe blamed the lagging sales of their female condom in
conventional retail outlets, such as supermarkets and pharmacies,
on ignorance. To solve the problem, according to a company
representative, they asked themselves where women spend a lot of
time and ‘with whom would they feel most comfortable talking about
such an intimate topic.’ The answer was simple–and similar to what
an American sex toys company called Passion Parties told a reporter
from the New York Times when asked about female customers in the
American South: private homes and hair salons. What’s more, PSI
learned that 59% of the women who walk into Zimbabwe hair salons
believe they are at risk of contracting HIV. So, PSI coupled a
home-sales initiative with a program to start training stylists,
who have natural interpersonal skills that can be employed to talk
about safe sex. The hairdressers were also taught how to do
demonstrations.

A recent in-house study by the contraceptive manufacturer polled
400 women who visited the hair salons enrolled in the initiative;
some 65 percent identified the female condom as a basic prevention
method against sexually transmitted diseases and HIV; 84 percent
said they would be comfortable buying the condom at a hair
salon.

‘Many clients say they could not buy the condom from shops and
pharmacies, for fear of being ridiculed by other shoppers as
prostitutes or immoral,’ hairdresser Memory Mabhena told
IrinNews. ‘But now that it is being sold at salons, where
the sellers are women, they are much more comfortable in buying
it.’
Elizabeth Dwoskin

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Zimbabwe: Hair Salons Come to Rescue of Female Condom

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