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Women: Men must be encouraged to practise safe sex too

PETALING JAYA: Women’s groups have come out in support of the Health Ministry for promoting the use of condoms to combat HIV, but say practising safe sex is the responsibility of both men and women.

Sisters in Islam programme manager Norhayati Kaprawi said it was her group's hope that both men and women are encouraged to practise safe sex.

“We hope the ministry allocates a bigger budget for free condoms for those who need it, like drug abusers and their partners.”

Norhayati said the Government should also introduce sex education in schools.

She was responding to the call by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad for every woman to carry a condom for her own protection.

Women’s Aid Organisation executive director Ivy Josiah said it should be a joint responsibility.

“I am glad that he brought up the issue. However, our view is that we should be educating men to use condoms.

“Many women find it difficult to negotiate with their partners that they should use a condom, especially for women who are in partnerships where there is violence or control.”

In her blog, former Malaysian AIDS Council chairman Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir concurred that men have to play their part too in practising safe sex.

“It is one thing to carry condoms, it's quite another thing to get the guy to use them. It might be more useful to tell men to carry condoms instead,” she said.

She also said that the police should not assume women who possess condoms were soliciting for sex.

“The issue is that having a condom in one's handbag is often used as evidence by the police that one is soliciting (which is a crime).

“Thus, unless we're supposed to all carry letters from Dr Latiff saying “it's okay.” women carrying condoms can be arrested for soliciting for clients to provide sexual services. In other words, it will be assumed that they are sex workers,” she said.

Source: Malaysia Star - Malaysia