Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has announced that the government will be distributing multi-flavoured condoms in a bid to increase condom usage among the youth.
They will be available in strawberry, banana and grape and it will also be brightly coloured.
"I hope that you find this condom more appealing and will use them – they will be free," said Motsoaledi in a prepared speech at the opening the First things First campaign in Soweto on Thursday.
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"Condoms are a cornerstone for prevention of HIV, prevention of other STIs as well as unplanned pregnancies. We know that consistent use of condoms prevents the transmission of HIV. It is also important that we ensure that condoms are used with another contraceptive method – therefore our emphasis on dual protection," Motsoaledi said.
The health department said the launch of the new flavoured condoms is in response to a study where the youth stated that the Choice condoms were smelly and not attractive.
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The purple-coloured and grape-scented condoms are the first phase of the roll out, said the Society for Family Health (SFH), which has been commissioned by the health department to lead the distribution of the condoms for the student population.
So far the government has procured 50 million of these condoms and the uptake will be closely monitored.
“This is a very exciting time for us because we are constantly driven to finding new and innovative ways for keeping young people protected from HIV and STIs and helping them stay healthy,” said SFH director Scott Billy in a statement on Friday.
The condoms will be distributed in tertiary institutions and later in the year at hospitals and clinics.
Although the state distributes over half a billion condoms yearly, only 36% of people use condoms. The HIV infection rates among South Africans also remains among highest in the world – 370 000 new infections occurred during 2012, or about 1000 a day.
SFH deputy director Miriam Mhazo said: “Whilst it is important to heighten people’s risk perception, exploring new ways to encourage condom use, such as making good quality scented condoms freely available, puts us in a position to re-popularise condom usage among our youth.”
Concern over flavoured condoms
Sex and relationship columnist Dorothy Black previously expressed concern over the internal use of flavoured condoms and lubricants.
"I don't know why people want to use flavoured condoms internally. I don't know any vagina or anus that has taste buds," she told News24 in a studio interview.
She also offered three tips on how to avoiding condom breakage:
1) Make sure the condom is not expired
2) Make sure it is kept out of the sun
3) Use lots of lubricant
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