Tuesday, January 31, 2012

South Africa: Major Recall of 1.35 Million Defective Condoms Distributed at ANC Party

South Africa's leading anti-AIDS group, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said Tuesday (January 31) that faulty condoms are among more than 1.35 million handed out at the African National Congress' (ANC) 100th birthday party.

Unfortunately, no public warning has been issued to people that they may have carried away defective condoms that could now cause them to unsuspectingly spread or contract HIV. As is well known, South Africa has the world's highest number of AIDS patients, some 5.6 million.

The third recall in less than five years raises questions about the quality of some of the 425 million-plus condoms that the government gives away each year, and the competence of the South African Bureau of Standards that is supposed to ensure their quality complies with international standards.

COMMENT: Although the condoms were recalled on January 18, there is no way of knowing the human impact nor how many of the condoms were used or have been recovered.

In 2007, the government recalled more than 20 million defective condoms manufactured locally but recovered only 12 million. The Health Ministry said many of the condoms failed the air burst test. That came after a recall the same year of 5 million defective and locally produced condoms. In that case, the Ministry of Health said a testing manager at the South African Bureau of Standards had taken a bribe to certify faulty contraceptives as meeting international standards.

As of this posting, those who had used condoms that allegedly had burst have not been publicly told to promptly obtain post-exposure tests and treatment.

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