By the end of May this year, male and female condoms will be available for staff and students on all UP campuses and residences. The condoms that will be made available are the South African Government’s Max condoms.
According to a statement by the CSA&G, “in 2016, there were 1,320 Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) related visits and 9,321 contraceptive-related visits at Student Health Services, confirming that sexual activity is commonplace and that students are interested in preventing pregnancy. Beyond contraceptives and the morning after pill, UP also has a memorandum of understanding in place with Amato, an external pregnancy support service to support students who fall pregnant. Sex, HIV, STIs and pregnancy are part and parcel of UP life, and are typical of similar institutions in South Africa”.
Perdeby spoke to Johan Maritz, senior manager of New Business Development & Special Projects at the CSA&G, on the new condom distribution programme. According to Maritz, condoms at UP were not widely available. Previously, condoms were only available at the offices of the CSA&G and at Student Health Services. With the installation of the condom dispensers, it is envisaged that condoms will be more widely available to staff and students.
Maritz said, “It has been approved as a three year rollout. The first 100 condom dispensers are going to be put up within the next month.” He added that more dispensers will be added in the near future.
He disclosed that key points were identified where condom dispensers will be installed. Condom dispensers will be installed in hightraffic bathrooms (both student and staff bathrooms) in all of UP’s nine faculties. Condom dispensers will also be added in high traffic bathrooms of multi-purpose lecture rooms and buildings. All of UP’s campuses (including the Hilcrest campus) and every UP residence will have condom dispensers installed. The condom dispensers will be monitored and filled by UP’s cleaning staff. “Condoms have been proven to be the most effective form of birth control and the most effective means of reducing your risk of contracting STI’s or HIV,” Maritz explained. He also talked about certain stigmas that are attached to condom usage, which include the notion that condoms are ineffective. “Almost all reasons for condom failure is due to human error.” He mentioned that although there has been criticism around free condoms, “all government condoms are SABS (the South African Bureau of Standards) approved and they conform to government standards”.
Maritz added that it is anticipated that the distribution of condoms will combat certain social problems such as, among others, gender based violence and people refusing to wear condoms, and will also strengthen relationships. The installation of condom dispensers will start in April and will be completed by the end of May this year.
Counsellors and other professionals are on standby for students seeking advice on any sexually-related matters. The CSA&G’s offices can be found inside the Huis & Haard building on the Hatfield campus. Students can visit the centre or contact them on 012 420 4391 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Sally Hartzenberg