The government through the Ministry of Health (MH) made a decision to promote the International method of A and B (Abstinence and Be faithful) in its HIV/AIDS campaign activities to increase community awareness on the prevention of infections with the virus HIV, but not to promote method C (use of condom) to the general public.

Government through the Ministry of Health (MH) made a decision to promote the International method of A and B.

MH HIV/AIDS Focal Point Frederico Bosco of the ministry’s HIV/AIDS program, said the decision to change promoting condoms to self-control took place after several discussions with the National Council Combating HIV/AIDS, with religious organisations, government, agencies and relevant institutions that work in this area.
Although he said the National Policy of the Ministry of Health is clear about promoting and distributing condoms as an alternative amongst at risk groups such as men-sex-men (MSM) and prostitutes, in the prevention of HIV, but not for the community in general.
He added, distribution of condoms is made weekly to public facilities where sexual transition may take place, however this depends on the existing stocks.
“This is an International Method, the implementation depends on the situation of each country and consultations by the Timor-Leste’s council with religious organisations, government and agency decisions,” he said by telephone.
He acknowledged that there were pro’s and con’s about the change of decision to change ‘C’ from condoms to self-control, but that the main point is the decision was made by Timor-Leste.
In relation to the stocks of condoms, currently the warehouse is out of stock and in the process of purchasing.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission Combating HIV/AIDS- Timor-Leste (KNKS-TL), Daniel Marçal said behavior change education is the solution to combating HIV in Timor-Leste, not condoms, because condoms are not 100% protection from the virus.
"It can protect, although not 100%, this can be dangerous therefore, as a Timorese, I do not want to teach my people to use condoms when it is not a 100% protection from the virus," he said.
He added from the start of 2010, Timor-Leste began to distribute and promote the usage of condoms but the reality shows the situation has increased, which indicated that condoms are not the only solution.
He went on to say the commission does not ignore condoms and will still continue to talk about the use of condoms.
The numbers of HIV cases are on the rise even after the decision was made to stop the promotion of condoms to the general community, however many people now have the knowledge though community awareness initiatives to go and have a HIV test.
From the registered data, he said some 700 people are infected with the HIV virus through sexual relations, however the commission continues to provide education to everyone and about self-control in order to avoid the virus.
On the other hand, a mother Georgina Ximenes said she received information about this virus through the national media, and still does not understand and feels the information is not clear, in particular the background and ways to implement prevention.
"Information should be clear so we can understand and be clear to share with our children who are growing up," she said.
She also urged the commission to use simple language when raising community awareness, so parents can understand the information, as the communities have different backgrounds in terms of education and knowledge.