More than one million government-issued condoms have been recalled in South Africa over fears they are faulty.
As part of the centenary celebrations that took place in early 2012, the African National Congress (ANC) distributed 8,700 boxes of the Choice contraceptives to hotels, bars and restaurants across the country.
The aim was to promote safe sex to South Africa’s party generation and it is thought the condoms were given to tens of thousands of people attending the ANC party.
However, there are now concerns the condoms – all 1.35 million of them – are porous and could lead to the transmission of HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
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News of the recall originally broke on Sunday when it was reported in South Africa’s City Press newspaper.
It came after a number of complaints about the ANC Choice condoms were received by Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), one of the country’s leading HIV/AIDS charities.
Speaking to City Press, Sello Mokhalipi, from TAC, said: “People would claim that the condoms burst. When we investigated the complaints, it turned out the condoms are porous.”
Although the fears have seen the condoms recalled by the Free State health department, it has been stressed that testing of the contraceptive devices needs to be carried out.
In an attempt to dispel any panic developing as a result of the recall, a spokesperson from the health department, Jabu Mbalula, said: “There is no reason for people to panic.”
Mbalula added that the condoms were ordered directly from South Africa’s national health department.
Thorough investigations will now be carried to find out exactly how the condoms, each bearing the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) stamp of approval, were deemed to be safe for use.
The need for a recall is concerning, particularly as South Africa has the worst rate of HIV/AIDS in the world.
According to the charity Avert, an estimated 5.6 million people living in SA were carriers of either HIV or AIDS.
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