“Nothing I hate like homosexuals, the founders of AIDS!” “If they burn with sex desire why can’t they quench it with a woman?” These comments and more greeted an article posted on The Sowetan Live website. The story has attracted a considerable amount of negative comment, even though it was only jettisoned into cyberspace 45 minutes ago.
PRESS RELEASE GET'S PICKED UP BY MAMBAONLINE
“No more discrimination, now there is a white and a black condom’’, one man said. “The choice is yours’’ added another, “black is beautiful’’. A gay man in Gugulethu asked, “Why didn’t someone do this before to make condoms look more natural?” These were some of the tamer reactions to the launch of Health4Men’s new black condom.
The sensational response to this innovative twist in HIV prevention had the Health4Men team scrambling for more stock as the public snatched up around 18, 000 condoms on World AIDS Day in Cape Town and township areas such as Khayelitsha, Langa and Gugulethu, and in various points in Soweto.
Health4Men programme manager Glenn de Swardt emphasised the role the condoms had to play in a society feeling the effects of condom fatigue,“Men, women and even parents are coming to ask about and collect the black condoms, these are condoms that people want to take home and use. And that means people will be making the choice to have safer sex”.
In spite of advances in the treatment and management of HIV, consistent use of condoms and water-based lubricant, and reducing their number of sexual partners, remain the public’s most essential tools to combat HIV transmission, he explained. “We’re trying to make free condoms and water-based lubricant more accessible within disadvantaged communities, especially to MSM (men who have sex with men) who engage in anal sex.”
To mark World AIDS Day, Health4Men‘s Cape Town team focused on bringing HIV-related messages and services to different parts of the community with no less than eight initiatives and campaigns, which included the launch of their new black condom.
In the month leading up to World AIDS Day, Health4Men distributed a whopping 78, 000 condoms in Cape Town and 34, 000 in Soweto and Johannesburg. This was accomplished in part by establishing partnerships with township-based taverns and shebeens, which have become conduits for distribution of condoms, free water-based lubricant sachets and educational posters and pamphlets.
Health4Men also conducts HCT campaigns and preventative workshops targeting men in these areas.
Other activities included participating in an awareness march through Dunoon community, an HCT drive at a refugee centre, support services to Khayelitsha Men’s Clinic as part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign and reaching out to inmates and staff at Goodwood Prison.