South Africa Is Rebranding Its Condom Campaign: Will It Work This Time?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The South African National Department of Health has launched a new safe sex campaign. Over the next three years it plans to distribute 3 billion scented male condoms, 54 million female condoms and 60 million sachets of lubricant to 4000 sites countrywide. It will cost taxpayers R3.5 billion.

The logic behind the department’s plan is to promote safe sex and reduce the risk of HIV among the country’s 15 to 24-year-olds. The campaign is also designed to ensure the government meets its target of halving HIV/AIDS, STI and TB infections by 2016. South Africa has one of the highest incidence of HIV in the world.

Condoms have been shown to be an effective way to prevent the spread of HIV when they are distributed freely from clinics, universities and various locations accessible to the majority of the population. But use across all age groups in the country has declined. Condom use is highest among 15 to 24-year-olds, but even in this age cohort it has declined. Between 2002 to 2012, over 52.9% of the participants interviewed in the HSRC survey never used condoms.

The campaign targets these declines in an attempt to encourage teens to use these rebranded condoms.

But the question remains: how effective this campaign will be, considering the increase in HIV infections among young adults over the past few years?

Source: The Conversation (link opens in a new window)

Health Care