Commercial sex workers in Chiadzwa, Manicaland Province, are using plastic bread packaging as a substitute for condoms when the products are unavailable, a report claims.
The area, which is famous for alluvial diamond mining, has attracted hundreds of artisanal miners, popularly referred to as “magweja”, which in turn has drawn thigh vendors.
According to The Manica Post senior reporter, Ray Bande, in Chiadzwa, a condom is sold for between US$1 and US$2, depending on the scarcity of the product at that particular time.
This was revealed during a media tour of the area that was organised by the National Aids Council (NAC).
Addressing the media, a 21-year-old Mutare sex worker who started sex work at the age of 16, claimed that at times they are forced to use bread packaging when condoms are unavailable. She said:
In most cases, the bread packaging is worn by the man as a substitute for condoms.
This is normal in Chiadzwa and clients find nothing unusual about it. We normally do it because we do not want to lose a client, especially those who insist on the use of condoms.
However, on some occasions, we get nasty clients who refuse to use the bread packaging and opt for unprotected sex.
We normally sell condoms among ourselves, so if one is desperate to be intimate with a big-spending client, they will buy that condom for as high as US$2.
They willingly buy it because they will recover their money from the client’s payment.
Meanwhile, Mutare medical practitioner, Dr Tendai Zuze said using bread packaging is risky as it might not be strong enough to sustain the pressure of friction during intercourse. Said Zuze:
It can easily break and put the people involved at risk of transmission of sexually transmitted disease.
Population Health Solutions (PSH) Clinical Services coordinator, Maxwell Madyauta, said various interventions are being deployed to combat an increase in STI cases in Chiadzwa.