Marketing and Supplying Condoms in AIDS Fight

In developing countries, social marketers have been trying to get more people to use condoms. And where they've been successful, rates of HIV are coming down. And the United States, despite conservative protests, is the primary donor of condoms.

In 2005, 13 billion condoms were distributed worldwide. But the United Nations Development Program says that breaks down to about 10 condoms a year for every man in Africa — and that is not enough. There were 7 million new infections of HIV last year.

The low-technology latex condom is the single most effective tool in preventing AIDS. Short of giving up sex and sticking with one partner whom you know to be infection free, there isn't anything else.

Non-profit social marketing groups like Population Services International — the largest condom distributor in the world — and DKT International report that in places where their message is accepted, the results are dramatic.

Since 2003, according to a PSI survey, young men and women in Kenya with multiple partners increased their use of condoms from 33 to 47 percent. Rates of HIV in the country have been nearly halved.

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