100 000 more HIV infections

By Drum Digital
03 April 2014

A drop in the use of condoms is seen as another reason for the increased HIV infection rate. Government plans to rebrand free condoms to make them more appealing to youth

South Africa has the world's highest number of people living with HIV, a crisis that has seen millions of people placed on a vast state-sponsored treatment programme.

New figures released on Tuesday showed there were 470,000 new HIV infections in 2012, compared with 370,000 the year before. In 2012, 36% of South Africans reported having used condoms during sexual intercourse, compared to 45% in 2008. Around 6.4 million people (12.2% of the population) were living with HIV or AIDS in 2012. That is up from 10.6% in 2008, when the previous survey was conducted, which partly reflects better treatment.

A government-funded survey of 38,000 people showed that "condom use has started slowing down. In an effort to curb the HIV infection rate The Department of Health plans to rebrand its free condoms to appeal to young people. Condoms distributed by the government will come in a wider range of colours and flavours, as authorities seek to mend the damage done to their image when thousands of faulty condoms were recalled in January 2012.

"We want to refresh the way we provide condoms to make sure that the packaging is able to attract the attention of young people," said health department spokesman Joe Maila.

-           Sapa

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