Dispatch

MAX Condom launched in South Africa with UNFPA support.

24 June 2016
UNFPA Representative Dr. Esther Muia hands over a branded condom dispenser to Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi as part of UNFPA support to Comprehensive Condom Programming

On 24 June 2016 the South Africa Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi launched a new public sector condom brand in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu- Natal, a province home to the highest number of people with new infections and those living with HIV in the country.

This is in response to 2012 evidence that condom use was on a decline, especially among young people. UNFPA South Africa supported this study.  It is estimated that nearly 150,000 young people between 15-24 years acquire HIV and 72,000 adolescent females give birth annually, representing the magnitude of the problem in South Africa.

The new brand “Max”  which replaces the over 10 year-old free  public sector “Choice” brand follows from the success in uptake  of a youth-specific grape-scented brand developed through UNFPA- supported studies. UNFPA has provided technical assistance in the generation of evidence on condom branding and its effectiveness in meeting the needs of young people.

 

Officiating at the launch of the new condom brand (available in four scented brands: banana yellow, red, regular blue and grape purple) as one of the activities of the launch of the national HIV campaign to reduce HIV, teenage pregnancy, school drop-out, and gender-based violence among young women and adolescent girls by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Dr. Motsoaledi underscored the importance of condom use in the response. The Minister was categorical in his use of evidence to support development of  national programmes,

Deputy President, I know of only one product that that can help us prevent the  three major challenges we face- HIV, other sexually transmitted infections and  unwanted pregnancies especially in young girls. This is the condom! There is no other proven weapon!"

At the same occasion, the UNFPA Representative, Dr Esther Muia officially handed over 500 condom dispensers (with total capacity 115,000 condoms) to the Minister, as part of UNFPA support to the health sector in making condoms available for young people, including  in institutions of higher learning.  The function was witnessed by the Deputy President, eight cabinet and deputy ministers, a provincial premier, representatives from all nine provinces, executive municipality mayors, donors, UNAIDS, UNWOMEN, Civil Society, traditional leaders and hundreds of adolescents and youth from different high schools and surrounding community.

The ceremony with a focus on “Love sex and your future” was again driven by a youthful approach of pomp and song with a festive feel!