The city of Johannesburg’s health department on Friday announced it was almost halfway through its target of distributing 94 million free condoms before the end of this financial year.
According to member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for health and social development councillor Mpho Phalatse, just over 33.6 million male and female condoms have been delivered to residents.
Phalatse said the intention was to promote condom use among those that were sexually active, especially with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) prevalent.
“Since high volumes of condoms are distributed, the city is sometimes faced with inadequate supplies from the national department of health, which then breaks the chain of delivery of condoms to our various outlets. However, stock is ordered on a regular basis.
“South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic and fastest growing epidemic in the world. A strategic outcome detailed in the growth and development strategy of the city is improved quality of life and development-driven resilience for all,” said Phalatse.
Phalatse said the city had committed to the 2017- 2022 national strategic plan for HIV, TB, and STI (NSP) through ensuring “a fit city characterised by healthy living for all”.
“By the beginning of this Valentine’s Day week, which also is STI/Condom Week marked annually between 11 – 15 February, 45.7 million government-approved male and female condoms had been handed out to residents during health education campaigns conducted by health workers throughout the year.
“STI/Condom Week also forms part of Sexual and Reproductive Health Month activities taking place in February, which the city actively participates in by way of awareness events,” said Phalatse.
The condoms were distributed at health facilities, workplaces, shebeens, and non-profit organisations working with the city and at other relevant outlets to meet this target. During door-to-door campaigns, health workers share information on sexually transmitted infections, proper use of condoms, distribute pamphlets, do HIV testing, and counselling.
Phalatse encouraged all sexually active residents to visit their nearest clinic to pick up free condoms and to learn more about STIs.
“While condoms are not 100% safe in preventing unwanted pregnancies and STIs, the consistent and correct use of condoms has been shown to significantly reduce the risks. We will also continue to encourage abstinence where possible, and faithfulness to one partner for those who are sexually active, while making condoms freely available at all our facilities to secure the wellbeing of our valued residents,” added Phalatse.
Phalatse said observations noted by the city’s health department revealed that the scented, coloured male condoms seem to be more popular than the original unscented condoms distributed. Female condoms were not very popular. To improve the use of female condoms, a scented version of female condoms has now been made available.
– African News Agency