The idea of giving colourful and flavoured condoms to tertiary institutions was welcomed by the Higher Education and Training HIV/Aids Programme (HEAIDS) on Wednesday.
“We warmly welcome Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi's intention to introduce (the)... condoms to the higher education and training sector,” said HEAIDS director Ramneek Ahluwalia.
He said many students joined the higher education and training facilities from the age of 15.
A report by the Human Sciences Research Council highlighted that it was between the age of 15 to 24 where the youth was most at risk of acquiring HIV.
Ahluwalia said encouraging condom use among tertiary students was a good place to start.
“Social debuts - including sexual relationships - happen across our campuses,” he said.
“If condom use is indeed falling, then it is falling among students too. So it is our duty to ask what will enable students and youth in general to protect themselves, and if blue or strawberry-flavoured condoms are the means to it, then we must do it.”
Motsoaledi announced on Tuesday that the condoms would be available in tertiary institutions from next month.
Quoting Motsoaledi, the Cape Times reported that people were suffering from “condom fatigue” and the Choice branded condoms which were free were “just not cool”.
“We need to inject enthusiasm into the condom campaign,” Motsoaledi was quoted as saying.
Motsoaledi's spokesman Joe Maila told Sapa the department was concerned about the fact that youngsters were not interested in using government's free condoms.
“That is why we decided to rebrand and repackage our condoms so that they will be more appealing to young people,” said Maila.
Ahluwalia highlighted that it would take some effort to get students interested in the new condoms.
“To successfully build loyalty among the new generation to have confidence in the new product will take some investment. It is the answer to bring back lost confidence, so we should be extra careful in planning and ensuring continued access,” he said. - Sapa