WHILE South Africans are gearing up to celebrate Valentine’s Day, it is important to note the day before is International Condom Day (February 13), a day where the general public is reminded of the importance of using a condom when engaging in sexual behaviour, the correct way to use a condom and the benefits of using a condom.
The message from the world’s largest global non-profit Aids organisation, the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), is that condoms are “Always in Fashion”.
The AHF operates in 39 countries with more than 860 000 patients in its care.
“Our key message remains that condoms are ‘Always in Fashion’, regardless of how long you have been with and how well you think you know your intimate partner, condom use is critical,” said Hilary Thulare, AHF South Africa’s country programme director.
“Condom usage not only prevents the chances of pregnancy, but also prevents sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/Aids along with reducing the risk of cervical cancer and wart-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) in women,” Thulare said.
A global survey among 18 – 24 year olds revealed that more than half the participants admitted to having unprotected sex at least once
“Durex conducted a global survey among 18 – 24 year olds and the disturbing result was that more than half the participants admitted to having unprotected sex at least once, re-enforcing the importance of spreading the message of using a condom when engaging in sexual activities,” Thulare reiterated.
International Condom Day, which falls under STI/Condom and Pregnancy Awareness Week in South Africa, will also be the day that AHF unveils its 2018 International Condom Day song, “Tried and True” a parody of Ed Sheeran’s chart topping hit single, “Shape of You”, to pump up enthusiasm at ICD events.
To spread awareness around ICD and condom usage, especially with Valentine’s Day coming, AHF will also be hosting several activations and events around South Africa, distributing condoms, educating the public on proper condom usage and conducting HIV/Aids testing, on Tuesday February 13 at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape, Diepsloot in Gauteng and Umlazi’s Mega City in KwaZulu-Natal.
Condoms are under attack in the realm of global public health
“Condoms are under attack in the realm of global public health, with governments and international agencies slashing funds,” said AHF chief of global policy, advocacy and marketing Terri Ford. “This will most likely lead to more infections worldwide – but thankfully, International Condom Day is a way to reinvigorate the message that condoms are a fun and fashionable way to protect oneself and one’s partner while reinforcing the tenet that condoms should be available for free to anyone who needs them.”
A UNAids and UNFPA joint paper states: “Despite the low cost of condoms, international funding for condom procurement in sub-Saharan Africa has stagnated in recent years. Collective actions at all levels are needed to support the efforts of countries that depend on external assistance for condom procurement, promotion, and distribution and to increase domestic funding and private sector investment in condom distribution and promotion.”