Free condoms distributed in the country to reduce the spread of HIV and Aids have found an unexpected user in Zimbabwe — they are now being use to “treat” arthritis.
By Rutendo Mawere
While Zimbabwe is now ranked among the highest condom users in southern Africa, it has emerged that condoms are not only being used for safe sex.
Betty Chitsiga, a health worker in Murambinda, Buhera told The Standard that most women in her area were collecting a lot of condoms from her, not for protective sex ,but to treat painful joints.
“I actually run out of the condoms which we collect for free. Here you will find even old women who are widowed collecting the condoms because there is a general belief that the lubricant in the condoms helps to ease pain for those suffering from arthritis and those with joint problems,” Chitsiga said.
Rudo Mashava, who is on diclofenac tablets for her arthritis confirmed that she rubs her joints with the lubricant from condoms to ease inflammation.
“A relative informed me that I should try rubbing condoms on my leg joints that trouble me a lot and since I started using the condoms, I realised the pain eases remarkably,” she said.
“Whenever I see free condoms I take as many as I can for my joints.”
According to a blog run by Cleveland Clinic, an American hospital, the word “arthritis” means “joint inflammation.”
Arthritis is inflammation in and around the body’s joints. Some types of arthritis include but are not limited to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and gout.
According to the blog, the risk of developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, increases with age.
According to medical research, arthritis generally occurs more frequently in women than in men.
However, Lucy Gondongwe a medical doctor at Harare Hospital said there has not been any scientific evidence to support the claims that the lubricant in condoms cures arthritis.
In some hair salons, the condom lubricant is also being used for oiling weaves to avoid tangling of the hair piece while some teenagers believe that the lubricant is the best acne cure.
Officially launching Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe’s new range of Protector Plus coloured and flavoured condoms in Harare last week, Health and Child Care minister, David Parirenyatwa commended the increased usage of condoms in Zimbabwe.