Responding to President Jacob Zuma’s request during his recent three-day visit to the UK, Britain has agreed to send 42 million condoms to South Africa as the country prepares for this summer’s World Cup tournament.
The Guardian also states that the government of South Africa is anticipating up to half a million visitors for the tournament, and fears an increase in sex trafficking and prostitution will accompany the month-long tournament. The country’s Central Drug Authority expects as many as 40,000 prostitutes will arrive for the event.
British Trade Minister Gareth Thomas will announce funding today for the condom request at an emergency summit on HIV treatment and prevention, being held in London. Thomas states: "The South Africans have identified themselves the need to get more condoms in place. South Africa specifically asked for British assistance and we are responding to that request."
Although South Africa distributes 450m condoms annually, there are 16m sexually active men in the country, creating a constant demand on condom supplies. Compounding the problem is the fact that many in the country believe HIV is easily treated, therefore ignoring the safe sex campaign in place.
South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, concerned that the country’s population is ignoring leaders’ attempts to educate them on prevention and treatment of HIV, states "That's what is worrying me. I am saying treatment must only come after prevention ... We are worried that South Africans seem to be thinking that we have arrived."
With an estimated 5.7 million South African adults living with HIV (nearly one in five adults), the country continues to strugge with the world’s largest HIV caseload. The country experiences around 1,400 new HIV infections and almost 1,000 AIDS deaths each day.