- Title: ETHIOPIA: Former beauty queen serves condoms and coffee at popular cafe
- Date: 1st December 2008
- Summary: 6. VARIOUS OF CAFÃ‰ OWNER AND FORMER BEAUTY QUEEN HAYAT AHMED TALKING TO CUSTOMERS 7. FEMALE CUSTOMERS 8. AHMED TALKING TO WAITER 9. MALE CUSTOMER LOOKING AT SENSATION CONDOM PACK 10. SENSATION CONDOMS 11. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HAYAT AHMED, CAFÃ‰ OWNER AND FORMER BEAUTY QUEEN, SAYING: "I think it is, it is making a big difference in people's lives, especially with HIV and AIDS. Before, people didn't want to hear about condoms. There was still the usage of condoms but on the other hand if you put condoms in private places and toilets, when you check at the end of the day, it is empty. People are used to doing everything behind closed doors. So if you give them free condoms, if we make the condoms available anywhere and for free, I think they will be happy to take it."
- Embargoed: 16th December 2008 12:00
- Location: Ethiopia
- Country: Ethiopia
- Topics: Health,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA9L5ZDJSPZYKXLIY0XRRX75T0X
- Story Text: Coffee is just one of the reasons the Bellissima cafÃ© recently opened in Addis Ababa, the other is to promote HIV/AIDS awareness.
Bellissima is the only cafÃ© in Ethiopia, and indeed Africa, that serves a free packet of coffee-flavoured "Sensations" condoms with every order. The condoms are locally made.
"Using a condom is very important. Everybody has to be free and not to be embarrassed to buy condoms. This cafe shows that it is possible to get condoms with out being embarrassed. This is a very good thing and a new beginning," said Bink Assefa, a customer.
Yonathan Menkir, another customer, says it was a great idea to use coffee to discuss the sensitive issue of practising safe sex.
"As you know our society is highly related with coffee here in Ethiopia and people have various coffee ceremonies in different regions. I can say it is by far the largest ceremonial tradition that we have sustained long years back. And to introduce this idea with coffee is really a breakthrough and exciting experience," Menkir said.
Bellisima's owner Hayat Ahmed says that she had already distributed some 300 condoms within two weeks of opening the cafe. The former Miss Ethiopia is also an HIV/AIDS ambassador and says she copied the idea from a restaurant in Asia.
"It is making a big difference in people's lives, especially with HIV and AIDS. Before, people didn't want to hear about condoms. There was still the usage of condoms but on the other hand if you put condoms in private places and toilets, when you check at the end of the day, it is empty. People are used to doing everything behind closed doors. So if you give them free condoms, if we make the condoms available anywhere and for free, I think they will be happy to take it," said Ahmed.
Despite numerous campaigns, Ethiopia has the 6th highest number of HIV infections globally according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Anti-retroviral drugs have been available for free since 2003 but poor infrastructure and a lack of qualified medical personnel hinders some people from accessing the drugs. They sometimes end up in hospital when little can be done for them.
Dr. Asfawossen Gebre Yesus works at a government hospital in Addis.
"Prevention strategies are many in number. There are those which can be done at the community level, there are those which can be done at the health facility level by health professionals. So when we look to the ABC principles -- abstaining, being faithful, using condoms -- they are making a good contribution towards that," said Dr. Yesus.
But many people in Ethiopia find it difficult to buy condoms because of traditional and religious beliefs. Most Ethiopians are Orthodox Christian -- a religion that forbids sex before marriage.
Still, condoms have proved reliable in HIV/AIDS prevention. Whether or not people buy them or pick up a few for free is ultimately a personal choice.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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