The Department of Health (SA) has launched flavored condoms, these condoms are being distributed in Strawberry, banana, chocolate and vanilla flavor, instead of the ordinary beige Choice condoms that have been distributed over the years. This development is to promote the use of condoms, by making them more exciting to use. This, the Government hopes, will encourage the youth to practice safe sex.
This comes after focus groups were tasked by Government to see if the ordinary beige Choice condoms where being used, and it was revealed that young people were not using the ordinary condoms, reporting that it was “not cool”. Them not being enticed by the regular condoms and them not affording the retailed ones, they resorted to having sex without protection.
These condoms are mainly being distributed in tertiary education institutions, as well as clinics all over South Africa. The Government hopes that this initiative will help decrease the rate of HIV in our country and that safe sex will be practiced. While some welcomed this initiative, some found the development funny as they believe it could actually motivate the younger crowd to have protected sex.
Doctor Kevin Rebe of Anova, an NGO that runs clinics for gay men, has long criticized the Choice condom, calling it the “no-choice” condom.
He welcomed the “exciting” move. Anova clinics offer people condoms in different sizes and flavours, including black condoms.
“I believe condoms are more than just a prevention tool. They have the ability to be fun and pleasurable and enhance responsible sex,” Rebe said.
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said, “People are suffering from condom fatigue, or perhaps the standard issue ‘choice’ condoms just aren’t cool enough. We need to inject enthusiasm into the condom campaign, and we are about to start rolling out new types of free, coloured condoms which are also flavoured.”
Young adults also discussed the implications of people not wanting free condoms, finding it more attractive and responsible to have a budget for sexual health.
One student said, “to me, the difference is that they (government condoms) are free. A person shouldn’t mind spending money for their health instead of getting them for free.”
Others said that Choice was better quality than the condoms in shops, and that the development was welcome.
As we wait to see how this initiative will roll out, we hope that the youth will practice safe sex and we pray for a decrease in the HIV rate.