Condom and sexual abstinence talk in the Malawi National Assembly

Afr Health Sci. 2006 Mar;6(1):21-6. doi: 10.5555/afhs.2006.6.1.21.


Background: Correct and consistent use of condoms has been reported as effective in the prevention of transmission of HIV. There have been many studies reporting on attitudes (perceptions) of communities on condoms and other aspects of HIV and AIDS and yet there is paucity of data on the perception towards condoms and abstinence by law makers.

Objective: To determine perceptions of Members of Parliament in Malawi towards condoms.

Methods: A qualitative study utilising parliamentary Hansards to describe the discussions about condoms and abstinence in the National Assembly 1999-2004. Content and discourse analyses were used.

Results: In general, Members of Parliament had negative attitudes towards extra- and/or pre-marital sexual intercourse, condom promotion and use. Sexual abstinence amongst non-married persons was preferred as opposed to condom use. Condom use was not perceived as an effective way of controlling the spread of HIV. Some MPs though called for a change in mind-set so as to allow use of condoms in prisons, in order to prevent transmission of infection from prisoners to the general community once the prisoners were released.

Conclusion: This study confirms that health interventions such as condoms are not perceived neutrally and may be construed as the enemy of society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Condoms*
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Malawi
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Politics*
  • Sexual Abstinence*