» Condoms are the most effective way of preventing HIV infection,
and other sexually transmitted diseases,
by creating a barrier that prevents the
transfer of fluids.
» Condoms are more effective when they are stored correctly,
away from heat and direct sunlight; packaging
is not damaged and when a condom is used
correctly. A new condom has to be used every
time a person has sex. Irregular usage compromises
HIv prevention, for both men and women,
considerably. Although rare, condoms can
slip off during intercourse, and poor quality
and incorrect use can contribute to breakages.
Risks of pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and STI infection,
even in the case of these events, are far
lower than if a condom is not used.
» Standard setting organisations worldwide (eg. ISO,
WHO) have developed a range of tests for
determining the quality of the latex condom.
These include dimension tests, leakage tests,
tensile strength ability to withstand force,
airburst tests and deterioration tests.
» Social marketing applies the principles of conventional
product branding and multimedia marketing
techniques combined with subsidy of health
products. Internationally, organisations
such as Population
Services International, The
Futures Group International and Marie
Stopes International are experienced
in social marketing and their websites contain
useful information on this topic and its
application to condom usage.
In 2002, the South African National
Department of Health procured 358 million
male latex condoms for free distribution
through the public health system. This is
the largest condom procurement programme
and the only fully funded government programme
Condom quality standards in South
Africa are set by
the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).
Products that conform to this standard carry
the SABS mark of approval.
Society for Family Health (SFH)
conducts condom social marketing activities
in South Africa. These
activities include promoting Lovers Plus
and Trust Condoms through mass media advertising,
mobile promotions, promotions in schools,
taxi ranks, shebeens and sports stadiums,
bashes and music festivals. SFH sold 8 million
condoms in South Africa
Condoms are imported by Crowntex
from Belgiuim for commercial distribution
Commercial brand condoms are
distributed by amongst others Durex.
are one of a number of options that sexually
active people can use to prevent HIV infection
– so the aim of prevention programmes
is not to achieve 100% condom use, unless
dealing with a very high risk sub-group
such as sex workers. Other options for
prevention include abstinence, non-penetrative
sex, and faithful relationships where
partner status is known.
and consistent condom use is important.
Inconsistent and incorrect use of condoms
increases risk of HIV infection.
distribution of quality condoms greatly
improves the efficiency of condom promotion
programmes. Studies show that youth in
South Africa are
easily able to access condoms – 84% (Rutenberg
et al, 2001); 84% (Kelly, 2000). Concerns
include judgemental attitudes of condom
distributors, particularly at clinics,
and inconsistent availability (Kelly &
condom use in South Africa is very high.
A study of commuters found 45% had used
a condom the last time they had sex, and
the level was 66% in the 15-24 year age
group (Parker et al, 2002); 71% of male
youth and 50% of female youth in KwaZulu-Natal
reported last time sex condom use (Rutenberg
et al 2001); In a national study 55% of
12-17 year old’s reported last time sex
condom use (loveLife, 2001).
important to note that not all youth in
South Africa are sexually active or at
immediate risk of HIV infection. There
are trends towards “secondary abstinence”,
where young people choose not to have
sex for long periods, even though they
may previously have had sex (Kelly and
Parker, 2001). Only 5% of 12-13 year old’s
have had sex; and just over half (54%)
of 16-17 year old’s have had sex (loveLife,
use is not readily reflected in the national
HIV-prevalence study conducted annually
by the Department of Health. This study
samples pregnant women only, and consistent
condom users are unlikely to be represented.
There are however interesting trends in
HIV prevalence. For example, according
to the DOH estimated national HIV prevalence
among antenatal clinic attendees rose
from 22.4% in 1999 to just 24.8% in 2001.
1999-2002 among antenatal clinic attendees
the national level has increased only
marginally over the past three years (22.4%-24.8%)(1999-2001).
HIV prevalence amongst the under 20 age
group has gone down marginally (16.5%
to 15.$%). Syphillis, which is readily
prevented by condom use has gone down
from 7.3% to 2.8%.
has procured hundreds of millions of condoms
for free distribution. How does this compare
to similar programmes in other countries?
Contacts: DOH; SFH; UNFPA
efficient is condom distribution in South
Africa? Are there differences in access
between urban and rural areas? Are young
people able to get condoms easily and
non-judgementally from clinics? Are condoms
available at loveLife Y-centres and NAFCI
clinics? Contact: DOH; PPASA; loveLife;
AIDS NGOs; Distribution point visits
safe are condoms distributed in South
Africa? Does the Department of Health
have standards and guidelines for distribution?
How are they tested? Contact: DOH; SABS;
condoms available in nightclubs and bars
where young people hang out and what efforts
are being made by the entertainment industry
to increase the availability of condoms?
the world male prisoners are vulnerable
to HIV infection through consensual sex
and rape. What efforts are being made
to reduce this risk? How easily can prisoners
get condoms? How many condoms are distributed
in prisons in South
Africa? Contact: SA Prison Services
the latest research on condom use in
How is condom use measured? What are communication
programmes doing to promote condoms? Contact:
Cadre; SFH; DOH
do the condoms distributed by street vendors
at robots in Johannesburg
come from? Are they government issue condoms?
Are they safe to use? Should they be sold?
Contact: Gauteng HIV/AIDS and STI Directorate
many condoms are sold in South
Africa by commercial companies? Do all
commercially marketed condoms in South
Africa meet international and SABS standards?
motivates condom users to use condoms?
How easy is it for partners to negotiate
condom use? How easy is it for women to
negotiate condom use?
The Department of Health
Contact: Ms Eva Gosa
Tel: 012 312 0130
Fax: 012 312 0129
Family Health (SFH)
Tel: (011) 482 1427
Fax: (011) 482 3333
(to be launched 23
Association of South Africa (PPASA)
Contact: Julita Duncan or Ilona Forster
Tel: 011 482 4601
Fax: 011 482 4602
Tel: 011 771 6800
Fax: 011 771 6801
P.O. Box 6104
Contact:082 903 8794
Dr G Nsiah
UNFPA Representative, South Africa
Tel: 012 338 5289
Fax: 012 320 4355
the move: The response of public transport
commuters to HIV/AIDS in South
Parker W, Oyosi S, Kelly K and Fox S (2002)
Global survey into sexual attitudes and
Durex Global Survey (2001)
of Practice Contextual Mediators of
Youth Response to HIV/AIDS
Kelly K &
Parker W (2001)
Kelly, K (2000)
Male Condom: UNAIDS Technical Update
UNAIDS, Geneva UNAIDS (2000)