A US-based charity is hoping to fight the spread of AIDS with a
unique product that appeals to coffee mania in the country that claims
to have invented the drink: java-scented condoms for Ethiopia.
Washington DC-based DKT International says the novelty product
addresses a serious issue. Ethiopia has an AIDS rate of 2.1 percent,
and in the capital it is more than 7 percent, according to government
estimates. Andrew Piller, director of DKT's local chapter, said the aim
of the coffee condoms was not to make money, but to make condom-users
DKT has noted some users' complaints about the latex scent of plain
condoms, and has also tried to market condoms in other parts of the
world tailored to local tastes, including those scented with the
infamously stinky durian fruit in Indonesia and sweet-corn fragranced
condoms in China.
Coffee condoms very popular
In Ethiopia, consumers purchased some 300 000 coffee condoms during
one week in September, the month the product was introduced here.
"Everybody likes the flavor of coffee," says a DKT spokeswoman,
The condoms sell in packs of three for 1 birr, or about 75 cents -
about half the price of a cup of coffee in one of Addis Ababa's many
sidewalk cafes, and much cheaper than unsubsidized condoms. The dark
brown condoms smell like Ethiopia's popular macchiato, an espresso with
a generous amount of cream and sugar.
"It is about time to use an Ethiopian flavor for beautiful Ethiopian
girls," said Dereje Alemu, a 19-year-old university student.
Church prefers abstinence
But in a deeply conservative country, the prophylactic has attracted
"It's inappropriate," said Bedilu Assefa, a spokesman for the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church, whose tens of millions of followers are
encouraged to abstain from sex outside marriage. "We're proud of our
Even critics of the coffee condom, though, recognize the importance
of safe sex.
"I hate coffee-flavored condoms," said a 37-year-old mechanic
Tadesse Teferi. "But I use ordinary condoms when I have sex with ladies
other than my wife." – (Sapa)