Throughout the world, and especially in Africa, safe, condom-compatible lubricant (water- and silicone-based) is inaccessible for most people who engage in anal intercourse. It is also inaccessible for women who engage in vaginal intercourse. A number of analyses in various settings indicate that the use of oil-based products is the most common form of lubrication – and is known to significantly reduce condom effectiveness. Faced with the lack of condom-compatible lubricants, people often resort to such products as body lotion, soap, cooking oil, spit, pre-cum, antibiotic creams, and even motor oil to provide lubrication during anal intercourse. This lack of appropriate lubricant products for people who practice anal and vaginal intercourse is unacceptable, when we know that they can keep condoms from breaking and slipping.
In December 2012, IRMA, amfAR, and AVAC launched “The GLAM Toolkit – Advocacy to improve access to safe, condom-compatible lubricant in Africa, Version 1.0”. The Toolkit is available here and offers tools and ideas for civil society and government partners to secure affordable and sustainable condom-compatible lubricant. Tools include a fact sheet, case studies, the results of a review of African National and Strategic Plans on HIV/AIDS, and a list of proposed advocacy activities.
After the Toolkit launch, the group released a request for proposals targeted to community advocates and organisations in Africa interested in improving lube access. Eighteen proposals were submitted from 11 African countries.
IRMA Nigeria, SAIL, and a Zambian organisation received the highest scores in a thorough evaluation process and began their lube access advocacy projects in April. We wish them the best, and will keep you apprised of their efforts. It is the hope the other groups will be able to learn from their work, and that one day all Africans who need safe, condom-compatible lubricants have easy, unfettered access to these critical commodities.
In the meantime, download a copy of the GLAM Toolkit to see what activities you can implement now in your own community. Charting a course now for condom-compatible lube will assist in reducing the spread of HIV and other STIs, as well as pave the way for the eventuality of rectal microbicide access.
*IRMA – International Rectal Microbicide Advocates
*amfAR – The Foundation for AIDS Research
*AVAC – Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention
**At the request of the grantee, the organisation wishes to remain anonymous.
*Join IRMA’s robust, highly-active. moderated, global listserv addressing rectal microbicide research and advocacy as well as other interesting new HIV prevention technologies by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joining our listserv automatically makes you a member of IRMA – a network of more than 1,100 advocates, scientists, policy makers and funders from all over the world.
*Please look for us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/InternationalRectalMicrobicideAdvocates, and you can follow us on Twitter: @rectalmicro.
*Also, please note that shared news items from other sources posted on this blog do not necessarily mean IRMA has taken any position on the article’s content.