I’ve heard plenty of excuses before: they’re too small, it’s like wearing a raincoat, don’t you trust me, I want to feel the real you. But I heard a new one with a British twist when traveling in Africa. I was asking Debbie, the nurse for the Wilderness Safari Company, about condom use in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. She said condoms are available everywhere but there is still resistance from some to using them, despite an extremely high rate of HIV and STI infection.
All three of these countries were colonies or protectorates of England, so people speak with a delightful British accent and use British words for some things, punctuate their sentences with “right,” and are very big on tea time in the morning and a ”sundowner” drink in the late afternoon.
“Would you want to eat your sweets with the wrapper on?” was a comment made to her during an educational session on condom use. Her plucky response was something like,“ Well, you can’t get HIV from your sweets but you can if you don’t use a condom.” I’d found a kindred spirit, indeed.
Another common excuse she heard that I’ve heard here, as well, is that using a condom is against the culture. Apparently, having sex outside of a supposedly committed relationship is OK there for some, as it is here. Another reason HIV continues to spread in all parts of the world.
Despite cultural variations, denial is universal.