Twenty-two year old Sheila is a trained ‘agony aunt’. In her office at the North East Secondary school in Maputo, she listens to students’ stories about love, sex, birth control and AIDS, and offers advice and free condoms. But out of 8,000 students, only 40 or 50 come to collect the condoms on offer. The problem, Sheila reckons, is the condom’s image, which is medical, off-putting, and inextricably linked in people’s minds with sickness and death. “HIV is not an issue for the young people”, Sheila says, “they are in love and there is no place for HIV in a passionate relationship”. Sheila knows sex and romance sell – so why not use them to promote condoms, and change perceptions? She’s launching a campaign to promote condoms as sexy contraceptives – not weapons in the fight against HIV and disease. In ‘Reclaim the Condom’, Sheila and her friends take her show out on the road to test her theory with ordinary Mozambicans.
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