Condom efficacy and distribution on campus

This year marked the successful expansion of the Office for Institutional HIV Co-ordination’s (OIHC) condom distribution project to include SU residences and various bars in town. Choice condoms are distributed to Maties through CondoCans installed in various buildings on campus and is in-line with the SU’s HIV policy, and vision of a campus free of new HIV infections.

Condom distribution and availability is one of the key OIHC initiatives aimed at empowering Maties to be able to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections (such as HIV) and unwanted pregnancy. Recent HIV prevalence and sexual behaviour data suggest that almost half of Maties are sexually active, of which 60% used a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse. More than 70% of Maties surveyed during the annual March HIV testing campaign indicated they are aware of free condoms being available in various campus buildings. Only 11% indicated that they have used these condoms for reasons other than sexual intercourse. Studies show that condom distribution programs do not encourage young people to initiate sex and do not cause sexually active young people to have sex more often or with more partners (CDC, 1997).

According to the CDC (2002): “Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.” Data also suggest that latex condoms provide an essentially impermeable barrier to particles the size of HIV and other STI pathogens (CDC, 1999). Several studies clearly show that condom breakage rates are less than two percent. Most of the breakage and slippage is likely due to incorrect use rather than to the condoms’ quality (CDC, 2002).

Around 200 000 condoms are distributed annually to 15 buildings on campus. The project has now been expanded to include 23 residences and 7 bars in Stellenbosch. The CondoCans are filled by Peer2Peer Educator students who have been trained by the OIHC. Students are encouraged to report empty CondoCans via this website (www.sun.ac.za/hiv/en/node/595).

References:
1. CDC. Male Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Atlanta, GA: CDC, 2002.
2. CDC. Condoms and Their Use in Preventing HIV Infection and Other STDs. Atlanta, GA: CDC, 1999.
3. CDC. Condom availability as a prevention strategy. CDC Update 1997 (February).