Cheating? Use a condom.

A new billboard campaign is stirring further controversy in the ABC/Condom debate in Uganda. The issue is well discussed in this post on PlusNews (IRIN).


We know that HIV rates are rising in Uganda and it seems that more than 40% of new infections are occurring among those in long-term relationships. Multiple concurrent relationships (cheating?) are common, and the consistent, correct use of condoms is poor (less than 25%).

Given these data I think it is right and proper that public health campaigns promote the use of condoms, testing for HIV and knowing your partner’s (partners’) status.

I’m not at all convinced that promoting such a message is encouraging immorality and will lead to more people becoming unfaithful or promiscuous, I think those that will, are already being so. I favour this realistic and pragmatic public service approach, whilst at the same time agreeing with the detractors that, yes it would be better if we lived our lives faithful to our partners.

So if you cannot be faithful and are going to cheat, then please use a condom; and if you think you are being cheated on, then get tested and ask your partner to do so too.

About Kevin Duffy

Interim Management and Consulting - Healthcare Development. Kevin has thirteen years senior management experience in the development and delivery of healthcare services in Africa and South Asia.
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7 Responses to Cheating? Use a condom.

  1. Brian A says:

    A good campaign I think! I agree with the conclusion of the article – that it would be better if people lived their lives being faithful – but the reality is that many don’t, and many don’t think of the consequences! Hopefully it’ll make a positive lasting difference!

  2. Brian B says:

    Basing on existing data, I find it a bare truth..considering Africa;s cultural doctrines & relgious affiliations as well as the audience of young people (who are ill-supposedly taken to not sexually inactive-we know they are not)..alot of people will make noise about the billboards. But if one was to walk tall and face the truth, the billboards shd stay, BUT MUST include an element of Being Faithful & Abstinence…it should be balanced to avoid all this what! why!!! how!!

  3. Teddy says:

    Ojok, thank God you brought this up, whoever came up with this message is crazy and has no idea of public health. This message was not pretested at all.

    • Kevin says:

      Hi Teddy, what needs testing? We know multiple concurrency is driving the increase in HIV incidence; we know that consistent use of condoms can help prevent infection and we know that it is good for people to be tested and know their status. If we are concerned about media affecting our behaviour, then surely we should be more concerned about movies, TV soaps, celeb magazines and the tabloid press? K.

      • Teddy says:

        Kevin, get real! That message encourages people to cheat on their partners/spouses as long as they can remember to use a condom. Is that what we are after? The packaging of the message has multidimensional implications. Negative implications more so on the morals of society.

      • Kevin says:

        Ok Teddy, that’s interesting, and I did ask people to let me know what they thought. Surely the ABC campaign gives the same message? Abstain, Be faithful and if you cannot do these then use a Condom. We know that unprotected sex during cheating is causing an increase in HIV infection. I would agree that we need to explore more deeply why people start to cheat and why, when doing so, they don’t use protection. I suspect very few will refer to this poster as the reason. If we can devise and implement a test that will help lead to better messaging, that would be good. K (DA).

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