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Condom Availability, Accessibility and Affordability Prove Key Pieces of the AIDS Prevention Puzzle


With effective programs providing 650 million condoms annually in 19 developing countries, DKT International plays a major role in preventing HIV/AIDS.

WASHINGTON--The Seventh International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2013) in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia brought together 4,700 AIDS researchers, scientists, community leaders and others involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. All in attendance heard the message that prevention is crucial to fighting the spread of the disease.

In conference opening remarks, Andrew Tan, President of myPlus (Malaysian Positive Network), declared, “Prevention is ultimately the key to reversing this tide that has touched many individuals, families and communities. This is why it is imperative to switch approaches … to a public health perspective. Then we will see the beginning of the end of stigma and discrimination, both key barriers to implementing effective HIV prevention and treatment programs.”

In 2012, DKT International provided 600 million condoms – enough condoms to circle the globe three times or more than 1.5 million condoms per day, in 19 developing countries. In these DKT programs, condoms are made widely available and easily affordable, their use is encouraged through social marketing on the Internet, in concerts, on outdoor billboards and at festivals – any channel that reaches condom users.

DKT’s 2012 sale and distribution of condoms and other contraceptives provided 25 million couple years of protection (CYP, the amount of contraceptive/safe sex protection needed for one couple over one year) at a remarkably low cost of $2.00 per couple.

“We offer differently priced brands within the same product category to maximize both health impact and cost-recovery for people who want and place value on protection against sexually transmitted infections,” said Christopher H. Purdy, Executive Vice President of DKT International. “We have learned that condoms will be used when they are available, accessible and affordable, but it’s important to charge something. When consumers pay a reasonable price for something they want, there is a higher probability they will value and use it. And even a small price prevents wastage.”

Two examples illustrate DKT’s success at encouraging condom use to combat HIV/AIDS:

  • DKT Ethiopia began operations in 1990 with the introduction of Hiwot Trust condoms. The program now supplies 80% of the country’s condoms as well as other reproductive health products, priced for various levels of affordability. DKT also taps local entrepreneurial talent through a Young Marketers (YM) Initiative that includes nearly 200 anti-AIDS clubs that sell the organization’s condoms, and operates one of Africa’s largest HIV-prevention programs targeting sex workers and distributing condoms through the military. DKT Ethiopia sold more than 65 million condoms in 2012.
  • When DKT Brazil began in 1991, the total male condom market in Brazil was less than 50 million pieces annually. Now the commercial condom market is 10 times larger, as DKT provides affordable condoms to low-income customers and also supports local nongovernmental organizations in Brazil with information about AIDS/HIV prevention. DKT Brazil’s Condom Tester Program website gives young adult users a platform to comment on condom use and tag their location via GPS to show where they have recently used a condom. Its 2012 Condom Tester contest sparked more than 100,000 website visits from around the world. Last year DKT sold 130 million condoms in Brazil.

DKT's effective use of the Internet and social media to encourage condom use is typified by our successes in many countries, even in highly conservative and traditional societies, promoting contraception to young, upwardly mobile adults who otherwise would be at risk,” Purdy added. “When The 2013 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) meets September 8-11, 2013 in New Orleans, we will continue to emphasize this message of how positive prevention strategies that encourage condom use are a major weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”


For DKT International
Suzy Ginsburg, 713-721-4774


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Information in this article was accurate in July 18, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.