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Life on the Edge: Reclaim the Condom
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Life on the Edge: Reclaim the Condom
Sheila Manjate is launching a campaign to "reclaim the condom" from the public health agencies. She believes that people are more likely to use condoms if they are marketed as sexy contraceptives as opposed weapons against HIV/AIDS.
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Directed by Bert Sonneschein and Iris Imaginações.

Camera: Bruno Sorrentino

Series Editor: Steve Bradshaw

Series Consultant: Jenny Richards

Production managers: Sophie Williamson, Davina Rodrigues

Produced by tve.

Find out more about the tve's Life On the Edge series.

Find out more about the UN Population Fund's efforts to educate youth around the world about safe sex practice.

Learn more about the European Commission's work to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Reclaim the Condom
VOICEOVER
Like all countries in southern Africa, Mozambique suffers from HIV/AIDS. Every year, millions of dollars are spent on prevention campaigns, including promoting condoms. But the battle is far from won, and one person thinks she knows why.
SHEILA MANJATE [Sexual Health Counselor, North East Secondary School]
I don't know how many students there are, maybe eight thousand. To pick up condoms? I have the records here. Maybe a hundred per month.
VOICEOVER
At the North East Secondary School in the capital Maputo, 22-year-old Sheila is a trained sexual health counselor. In her office, young people come to her with their intimate problems.
BOY 1
I'm having a problem with my girlfriend.
SHEILA MANJATE
And you did not use a condom?
BOY 1
Often we didn't use it.
SHEILA MANJATE
Because you trusted her?
BOY 1
I risked it because I trusted her, but I mistrust her at the same time.
VOICEOVER
The message is clear -- selling condoms as barriers against HIV can suggest couples don’t trust each other. So Sheila’s convinced it’s easier to sell condoms as contraceptives. Today in her office, she’s tearing down the public health posters. For Sheila, condoms are the main weapons against HIV/AIDS, but they must have the right image. The unbranded ‘white’ condoms are the ones distributed in schools and clinics. Much better, she says, those more sexy, branded ones.
VOICEOVER
Sheila lives at her grandma’s. A churchgoing Christian, she wants to train as a lawyer. She says what some in the big health agencies think privately.
SHEILA MANJATE
The condom is too associated with HIV and so it has become stigmatized in the people's minds.
VOICEOVER
She’s backed by market research, which shows trust in relationships is the main reason for not using condoms. Sheila knows sex and romance sell, so why not use them to promote condoms? She is working on a radio program to try her message on a wider audience. It's for 99FM, a popular national radio station. Today is the big sell.
SHEILA MANJATE
I'm very nervous. I'm in the hands of God.
VOICEOVER
Sheila’s off to see the head of the station. But will he buy her maverick message?
SHEILA MANJATE
Our idea is to make a pilot program.
NELSON CAMAL [Station head, SNYC 99 FM]
Yesterday I attended a Millennium Village ceremony in Chibuto. They had a box of condoms like this one. I didn't want to take any.
SHEILA MANJATE
Exactly.
NELSON CAMAL
But what are we going to say in the program? No to the AIDS condom, or are we going to say AIDS condom, yes?
SHEILA MANJATE
No, our objective is to say yes to the condom.
VOICEOVER
Not only have they given her airtime, 99FM has given Sheila her own team. Their slogan: "For Your Up Moments!" Public health campaigns find it difficult to link condoms with pleasure. But can you really sell condoms better branding them with sex than with illness? Early morning, and time to take the show on the road. Today to Xinavane, 100 kilometers north of Maputo. For her program, Sheila wants people to talk openly about their sex lives. She hopes their stories will reveal why they should use condoms.
SHEILA MANJATE
How was it, the first time, the first child?
FARIDA
It happened when I was fooling around. I cannot lie about that.
VOICEOVER
Sex and birth control, says Sheila -- that's why condoms were invented. It's common ground that brings partners together when talk of HIV can drive them apart. She's taking the message to the local school to see how it plays.
SHEILA MANJATE
Our mothers fell pregnant at the age of 14, 15, 16, 17; they lived their sexuality at the moment they felt the time had come. I want you to tell me: What do you do to live your sexuality, without having the same problems our mothers had? What did you say?
MALE STUDENT 1
I use the condom.
SHEILA MANJATE
You used the condom. Thank you. Ping pong, another one. What do you do?
FEMALE STUDENT 1
Condom.
SHEILA MANJATE
Condom. Who else?
FEMALE STUDENT 2
Fidelity.
SHEILA MANJATE
Fidelity. Who else?
FEMALE STUDENT 3
Condom.
SHEILA MANJATE
Condom. Who else?
MALE STUDENT 2
Fidelity.
SHEILA MANJATE
Fidelity. Who else?
FEMALE STUDENT 4
Condom.
SHEILA MANJATE
Condom. Who else?
FEMALE STUDENT 5
Be faithful to my boyfriend.
SHEILA MANJATE
Be faithful to your boyfriend? I have to be faithful to my boyfriend, but I also have to be faithful to the condom, because the day my boyfriend drops me, the condom will stay with me.
VOICEOVER
Sheila's taking her message to people that may never have seen sexily packed condoms before. But will her approach shock? AIDS campaigners are now finding out that infections are increasingly within married couples. So can Sheila find a reason for introducing condoms in a married relationship? Sheila and colleague Arthur are going to try and persuade David, along with shining his shoes.
DAVID TOVELA
No, no, I never used a condom, and I will never use it. With Moses, I say, meat on meat, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
SHEILA MANJATE
A woman, when she gets pregnant, needs a time to recover and for the child to grow before she can fall pregnant again. This is a condom. There is this one, and this one. This is a mixture of three different types: this type, that type, and the other type. So you try and the one you like most you start using always.
VOICEOVER
Later, time for a call to David.
SHEILA MANJATE
Oh, so you've decided to use them. You loved it?
VOICEOVER
Perhaps another condom convert.
SHEILA MANJATE
So when your wife falls pregnant, you don't have to abstain, just use the condom.
VOICEOVER
Sheila’s found different reasons for condom use in each of her interviews, even though no one mentioned AIDS. She takes her findings back to the National AIDS council. But with the scale of the pandemic, can they risk abandoning the public health message?
DIOGO MILAGRE [Executive Director, AIDS Council]
Unwanted pregnancy is a localized problem. AIDS is a central problem.
SHEILA MANJATE
Of the government.
DIOGO MILAGRE
The central problem of today is that I have an infection rate of 16 percent. I have got one million and six hundred thousand people infected, and that could compromise the development prospects of the country. That is the central problem.
VOICEOVER
For those responsible for mitigating the impact of the pandemic, Sheila’s message may be far too risky. It is a message on the edge of the debate. But the debate may be moving her way.
SHEILA MANJATE
Probably it is necessary for me one day to invite Mr. Diogo to take off his suit, put on shorts, a T-shirt, a pair of flip-flops, and enter the communities, and take with him the message of pregnancy, abandoned women, drop-outs, sex after pregnancy, and make those messages the image of the condom, and solve the problem based on the problems of the people.
TITLE
For more information, please visit: http://www.bullfrogfilms.com