South African Government To Begin Distributing Brightly Wrapped, Branded Condoms Free of Charge
The South African government on Monday launched a new brand of brightly wrapped condoms that it will distribute free of charge as part of the country's efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports (Reuters, 6/14). The "Choice" condoms, which are packaged in blue and yellow wrappers that include directions for use, will replace the unbranded gray-packaged condoms that the government had been distributing since 2000 (BBC News, 6/14). Although the country's Department of Health last year distributed more than 300 million condoms, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said that the condoms were "seen to be far less attractive and user-friendly than those of the commercial brands" (Reuters, 6/14). "We realized that we needed to change the way we market government condoms to maximize their impact," Tshabalala-Msimang said, adding, "Condoms should not only be a necessity but should be seen as sexy and part of fun" (BBC News, 6/14). The government decided to pick a brand name for the condoms because "market research ... suggests that people must identify with a brand name for a product to be successfully marketed," Tshabalala-Msimang said (Reuters, 6/14). The Choice condoms are expected to have a "wide appeal" among people ages 18 to 35, according to VOA News (VOA News, 6/14). "The new packaging was tested among young South Africans, who recognized Choice for its funky, punchy and straightforward attitude," Tshabalala-Msimang said, adding, "We need to say to our partners: 'No Choice, no play'" (Xinhua News/China View, 6/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.