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Minister doubles condom distribution

Resource type: News

Daily News (South Africa) |

by Caiphus Kgosana

Taking a cue from President Jacob Zuma’s promise to halve new HIV and Aids infections in two years and Julius Malema’s “one girlfriend, one boyfriend” campaign, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has decided to double the number of free condoms.

Motsoaledi said in his budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday that free male condoms would increase from 283 million to 450 million this financial year, and by another 45 million in the next financial year.

The bad news for women, however, is that the distribution of female condoms is still in low supply. “Female condom distribution will increase from 4,5 million to 5 million,” said Motsoaledi.

However, the minister did not say anything about the quality of the condoms after a scandal a year ago that many condoms were distributed to the public even after failing tests because a quality assurer was bribed.

In his endeavour to show that he was not an Aids denialist, Zuma promised that his government would intensify the fight against Aids by reducing new infections by 50 percent in 2011.

But with the president making his ministers sign performance contracts and threatening to fire those who do not deliver, Motsoaledi clearly does not want to fail this test.

It is not clear, however, if Motsoaledi has taken to heart Malema’s advice that political leaders should take HIV tests when he announced the youth league’s “one girlfriend, one boyfriend” campaign.

“It is important that we lead by example, and when that time comes, we will announce (it). I think that is what we need to encourage leadership to undergo a public HIV test,” Malema said recently.

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