Sexual health awareness drive

The TB/HIV Care Association outreach team on a walkabout in the city centre dressed as condom ambassadors. They distributed condoms to the public, gave talks on sexually-transmitted infections and conducted condom demonstrations.

In support of National STI and Condom Week, which runs from Monday February 12 until tomorrow, Friday February 16, TB/HIV Care Association is hosting various outreach events to educate people about the importance of using condoms consistently and correctly.

Under the banner of Love=Condom, the NGO is encouraging people to pursue a healthy lifestyle and prioritise the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

In addition to distributing thousands of condoms, male and female, and educating the community, outreach events will also include HIV testing; counselling and support; screening for STIs; screening for TB; advice and counselling around family planning; as well as basic health checks including blood pressure and diabetes.

According to TB/HIV Care Association, South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic in the world with an estimated 7.1 million people living with HIV in 2016.

It follows that South Africa also has the largest treatment and prevention programme in the world – with condom distribution forming one of the cornerstones of SA’s HIV response. In 2016/2017, South Africa distributed 917 253 117 male condoms through public health facilities, NGOs and other outlets. And although condoms are freely available, many people still do not use condoms consistently (or at all) which is concerning, as condoms are still the only method which prevents HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancies.

Alison Best, TB/HIV Care’s communications manager, said there are many different reasons people don’t use condoms. “Some people believe condoms make sex less pleasurable, while others are afraid to ask their partners to use a condom for fear of losing their partners or even for fear of experiencing violence. We’d like to encourage people to explore different condoms to find what best suits them. The idea of trying one of the newer scented condoms could even be one way of introducing the idea of condoms into a relationship.”

For more information around STI and Condom Week, the Love=Condom campaign or ongoing projects, contact Alison Best at