Health4Men Launches "Black Condom"

Health4Men has launched an innovative 'black condom’ that looks more natural when used by the majority of South African men. Yep that's what some of the headlines and the press release around this story is being punted. I am all for coming up with innovative ways to fight HIV pendamic but some times certain thing just sound odd.

The organisation, which targets the health needs of men who have sex with men (MSM), said that the condoms had received an overwhelmingly positive response. Really?. To me this sounds like these studies where they tell you that 4 out 5 people in this particular area like something and you end up wondering who did they talk to since you live there and no-one ever asked you about that.

Potential users are even quoted as having said;
“No more discrimination, now there is a white and a black condom’’ said one 
“The choice is yours’’ , added another 
“black is beautiful’’.
Apparently "A gay man in Gugulethu" asked, 
“Why didn’t someone do this before to make condoms look more natural?”

The condom's introduction on World AIDS Day saw the Health4Men team scrambling for more stock as the public snatched up around 18,000 black condoms in Cape Town and township areas such as Khayelitsha, Langa and Gugulethu, and in various points in Soweto the report claims.

Health4Men programme manager Glenn de Swardt is said to have emphasised the role the condoms had to play in a society feeling the effects of 'condom fatigue'. Seriously? Do people actually use terms like "condom fatigue". 

This sound like Nondumiso Tende on Top Billing izolo talking about "brown kids in the township".

Glenn was quoted; 
“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, the consistent use of condoms and water-based lubricant, and reducing the number of sexual partners, remain the public’s most essential tools to combat HIV transmission, de Swardt explained.

“We’re trying to make free condoms and water-based lubricant more accessible within disadvantaged communities, especially to MSM who engage in anal sex.”

In the month leading up to World AIDS Day, Health4Men said that it had 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 is a project of the Anova Health Institute and funded by PEPFAR through USAID. It has established Africa’s first two public-sector clinics, in Cape Town and Soweto, dedicated to MSM, offering comprehensive free healthcare services including ARV treatment.

Ok I applaud Health4Men for taking on this initiative to help where our government is clearly feeling overwhelmed. I do however have to point out that their marketing plan needs some serious work. The notion that black men will use the condom just because it is black, is just ridiculous. 

And by the way, majority of African men do not have "Black" penises so your so called "black condom" couldn't be anymore natural looking to a black South African than a yellow, blue or red coloured condom would be. Actually, the coulourless latex condoms like Choice's would offer a more natural look than a black condom since it is see-through. 

The organisation is doing a good job but they should not be punting this condom as a "great find" for black men. It is insulting. They should definitely find another way to promote this campaign because this "black condom" nonsense is not going to work.

1 comment:

Philani said...

Fully agree its an insult to black males and undermining the choice condoms which is our late Minister ofHealth manto's legacy.

They are doing a goodthing but should not use race and colour to push their agenda and manipulate their market.

Transparent is still the way to go!!!Let them engage in more education if tey feel they wanna assist because giving those lubs and condoms to shebeens and pubs will not bring change Gov have been doing that either.

Safe Sex practice education is the ensence or key function that need to be tuckled.


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