The condom of the future might be made of cow tendon or fish skin. It might have “shape memory” to instantly mold to a specific man. Or it might come with pull tabs so a man could slip it on with little fuss.
Those ideas are among the winners announced Wednesday by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of a contest to create a condom that men would actually use. The contest, the foundation said, aimed to decrease unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases with “a next-generation condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure.”
The foundation received 812 applications, chose 11 and awarded the winners $100,000 each. They could receive up to $1 million after they develop the ideas. Steven Buchsbaum, a Gates Foundation official, said winners ranged from a longtime condom manufacturer in India to American chemical engineers to British design consultants whose previous work included vacuum cleaners.
Many ideas involved materials besides latex, aiming for thinner, stronger, less constricting condoms with better sensation, “reducing the loving distance between partners, so they will be more close,” said Dr. Papa Salif Sow, a Gates senior program officer. Other ideas focused on “how to improve the donning,” he said, because “in sub-Saharan Africa, sex is basically done with low light and it might be very difficult to see the direction of the condom.”
Winners include the “ultrasensitive reconstituted collagen condom” proposed by Apex Medical Technologies in San Diego. Apex’s president, Mark McGlothlin, said his product would feel like skin and be made from collagen fibers from cows’ Achilles tendons or possibly fish skin.
“They’re unbelievably strong,” said Mr. McGlothlin, who currently gets beef tendon from a Vietnamese grocery. “I could yank all day and not break this thing.”
A “wrapping condom” proposal by the California Family Health Council in Los Angeles will build on a version manufactured in Colombia, made of polyethylene plastic that “clings like Saran Wrap rather than squeezes,” according to Ron Frezieres, the council’s vice president for research. It would come in three-packs the size of a credit card and almost as thin, he said, and, like another grant winner called the Rapidom, would have pull tabs to “keep you from being confused about which way to put it on,” Mr. Frezieres added.
At least two winners will work with polyurethane, including Richard Chartoff, a University of Oregon chemical engineer, who foresees a “one-size-fits-all” design having shape memory to “fit like an extra layer of skin, conforming to the shape.” He is also considering adding nanoparticles containing antiviral or antibacterial drugs, and, more prosaically, offering different colors.
Stephen Ward, a Gates Foundation program officer, said that among the problems tackled were “improving lubrication, internal friction, external friction, heat transfer.”
Two or more grantees might be teamed to make one design, he added. “There’s not one magic bullet,” he said. “The idea is making them easier for people to use in the moment, in the dark, whatever situation they’re in.”
from The New York Times
Posts Tagged ‘condom’
The condom of the future might be made of cow tendon or fish skin. It might have “shape memory” to instantly mold to a specific man. Or it might come with pull tabs so a man could slip it on with little fuss.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation sued Los Angeles County, claiming three of its officials falsely accused it of overbilling $1.7 million, to punish the group for its advocacy of the condoms-for-porn-actors law, and for blowing the whistle on county mismanagement of AIDS funding.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its president Michael Weinstein sued Los Angeles County, Department of Public Health directors Dr. Jonathan Fielding and Mario Perez, and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, in Superior Court.
Weinstein made similar claims against Los Angeles County in a federal lawsuit last December.
In July, the foundation asked a federal judge to enjoin the county from auditing it, claiming the audit would interfere with patient care. That request was denied on July 19.
Voters approved Measure B, the Safer Sex in Adult Industry Act, in the November 2012 general election. The law requires porn actors to wear condoms. Pornography filmmakers in Los Angeles County also must take blood-borne pathogen training to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
The San Fernando Valley is a center of the pornography industry.
Porn producers must pay a fee to the L.A. County Department of Public Health for a film permit. Film permits may be revoked if actors or producers violate the law.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation was the official advocate of the ballot measure and in April this year intervened in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, which the foundation claims the county does not want to enforce.
In the new lawsuit, Weinstein claims the foundation is paying the price for its “advocacy positions,” and criticism of county officials’ misuse of federal funds.
“Defendants’ retaliatory conduct includes a conspiracy to create incorrect audit findings and demand millions of dollars from AHF [AIDS Healthcare Foundation] based upon these findings, and defendants’ discussion of these incorrect audit findings in front of other providers and the public at large,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants carry out these practices in order to intimidate providers into submission and prevent them from speaking out critically against the county.”
In his dense, 45-page complaint, Weinstein admonishes the county for claiming the foundation had overbilled L.A. County by $1.7 million. Compared to other providers, the county directs “frequent and invasive” audits of the foundation, Weinstein says.
The Health Resource Services Administration distributes federal funds under the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency Act. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has contracted with the county since the late 1990s to provide patient services.
Weinstein claims that the county misuses those funds, cutting off vital services to patients and favoring health care providers who make campaign contributions to county officials.
In 2009, the county reallocated $1.2 million to the Tarzana Treatment Center after cutting off funding for the foundation’s organization in the Antelope Valley, where it still operates at a loss, according to Weinstein.
“Tarzana had less experience than AHF and other providers in the area at treating HIV/AIDS. However, many of the principals of Tarzana are significant campaign contributors to Yaroslavsky,” the lawsuit states.
The county did not look at competing bids last year when in a single day it pushed through a $75 million contract for a private pharmacy administrator called Ramsell, Weinstein says in the complaint.
The foundation sued the county in Superior Court for violating competitive bidding rules, and won a judgment invalidating the contract in June 2012 – a move that angered county officials, according to the complaint.
Weinstein claims that as the foundation campaigned for Measure B in the November 2012 general election campaign, county officials “ramped up their threats,” demanding the foundation pay the $1.7 million within two weeks.
“Defendants’ actions have injured AHF Michael Weinstein, and their mission of providing quality care to those with HIV/AIDS,” the complaint states.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation seeks an injunction and general, compensatory, special and punitive damages for violations of the California Constitution and the California Whistleblower Act.
It is represented by house attorney Samantha Azulay.
from Courthouse News
Does the comfort and fit of condoms have an impact on safer sex among gay and bisexual men? In 2010, Hunter College’s Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) surveyed nearly 500 men in NYC to get some answers about penis size and condom failure rates. Dr. Jeffrey Parsons, CHEST’s director, says, “This type of public health research is very important, no matter how politically volatile. Studies like this allow us to better understand sexual health and risk so that we can address effectively the health needs of gay and bisexual men.”
What did Dr. Parsons and his colleagues seek to discover through their study? Dr. Christian Grov, the study’s lead author, says he had wondered if a “one-size-fits-all approach to condom distribution” might be inadvertently creating a group of men at risk for engaging in unprotected sex due to problems with condom fit. And the findings of CHEST’s study suggest his initial hypothesis may have validity: close to half of respondents reported condom slippage during sex and almost a third reported condom breakage in the previous three months.
There was also an association between condom breakage and unprotected sex, suggesting that some men may have unprotected sex simply because they cannot find proper fitting condoms. Less than forty percent of those surveyed said it was “easy” to find a condom that fit them.
“These findings indicate that the fit of a condom matters,” says Grov. “A client at an HIV service agency might see a bowl filled with ‘standard’ condoms and have to ask a provider if they have other sizes available. That extra step could make the difference between someone leaving with a condom—the right condom—or going home empty handed.”In recent years condom manufacturers have been expanding their selection to include different sizes. “Unfortunately, the default condom freely distributed by many health care providers is still a standard size,” says Grov. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has increased the distribution of condoms in a variety of sizes to health centers. However, the findings of the CHEST study show there is more work to do.
In the US, gay and bisexual men are among the most likely to be exposed to HIV. Condoms remain among the best strategies to prevent new transmissions. Offering a wider assortment of condoms could improve the ease and enjoyment – and thus likelihood – of safer sex practices.
About the study:
The results of this study titled, “Self-reported penis size and experiences with condoms among gay and bisexual men,” by Christian Grov, Brooke E. Wells, and Jeffrey T. Parsons will be published in the February 2013 issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior. Data were collected in 2010 from 463 gay and bisexual men in at large scale community events in New York City.
At this week’s 2012 International AIDS Conference, TheyFit LLC is discussing how they are changing the global standard for condoms. The product, custom fit condoms available in 95 unique sizes, was presented with initial sales data and analysis from a European market launch. A recent position statement by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the “male latex condom is the single most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.” While latex condoms provide excellent protection, many men don’t routinely use them with 45% of men complaining their condoms don’t fit.
At the conference, TheyFit will unveil sales data relating to its range of custom fitted condoms for the first time, which are currently available in Europe and planning to launch in other countries pending regulatory approval. The data for the custom fitted condoms was collected during the 2011-2012 launch in Europe. In just the first 250 pack sales:
Only one in eight, or about 12.4%, of sales were within the range of sizes currently allowed by the American Society for Testing Methods
174 individuals from 11 different countries made purchases
Each of the 12 widths and 14 lengths were sold
Both the smallest and largest condom sizes were sold
61 (64%) of the ninety-five unique sizes were purchased at least once
Joe Nelson, head of TheyFit Europe, described the data as “cast iron proof supporting the need for more condom sizes.” Nelson continues, “The findings have significant implications for public health. Promoting condom use is a global issue, but many consumers won’t wear them because they are simply not the right size.”
As regulated medical devices, condoms must conform to international standards such as those developed by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and the ASTM (American Society for Testing Methods). These standards mandate which sizes of condoms are available, and have led to more than 90% of condoms produced being around the same size. But the TheyFit range expands massively on that – 95 sizes are available varying in width from 1.6 to 2.8 inches and length from 3.2 to 9.6 inches.
To order TheyFit condoms, men measure themselves with a FitKit (available for free at www.theyfit.com) to discover their unique custom fit fitting code to give them the best fitting condom. Condoms are then ordered and delivered from www.theyfit.com.
James Trussell, Faculty Associate of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University, and author or co-author of over 300 scientific publications – primarily in the areas of reproductive health and demographic methodology – believes in the importance of custom fitting condoms.
“Having a wider range of condom sizes made available would be a strong step forward for public health,” Trussell explains, “therefore, international standard organizations and medical regulatory bodies should authorize and allow an expanded range of condom sizes.”
Nelson believes there is a direct correlation between the low rates of condom use worldwide and the lack of appropriately sized condoms. “Imagine trying to encourage people to wear shoes, or women to wear bras, if all you had available were one or two sizes. It would be an impossible task and it’s perfectly comparable with condoms today – there simply aren’t the sizes necessary to fit men correctly and that is at the heart of the problem. Men won’t wear condoms if they don’t fit. That’s where TheyFit comes in.”
from Press Release
More high school students are using condoms than 20 years ago – but progress has stalled with a lot of work still needed to protect young people from the AIDS virus, government researchers reported Tuesday.
Today, 4 of every 10 new HIV infections occur in people younger than 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – and the teen years, just as youths become sexually active, are key for getting across the safe-sex message.
Using a long-standing survey of high school students’ health, the CDC tracked how teen sexual behavior has changed over 20 years. The results are decidedly mixed.
About 60 percent of sexually active high school students say they used a condom the last time they had sex, researchers said Tuesday at the International AIDS Conference. That’s an improvement from the 46 percent who were using condoms in 1991.
“This is good news,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC’s HIV prevention center. But, “we need to do a lot more.”
The problem: Condom use reached a high of 63 percent back in 2003.
Black students are most likely to heed the safe-sex message, yet their condom use dropped from a high of 70 percent in 1999 to 65 percent last year, the study found.
If mom and dad get antsy about discussing condoms, well, about half of high school students have had sex, a proportion that hasn’t changed much over the two decades, the CDC reported. Today, 47 percent say they’ve had sex, down just a bit from 54 percent in 1991. Again, black teens made the most progress, with 60 percent sexually active today compared with 82 percent two decades ago.
The average age when teens begin having sex: 16, CDC said.
The more partners, the more risk. Fifteen percent of high school students say they’ve had four or more partners, down from 19 percent in 1991.
Fenton said part of the problem is that many school systems don’t have strong enough sex education policies that include teaching teens about how to prevent HIV. But he cautioned that the CDC study can’t link the abstinence-only policies pushed by Congress through the late 1990s and early 2000s to the stalled progress.
Focusing on individual risk behaviors is just part of the story. Increasingly, HIV is an infection of the poor, and specialists at the world’s largest AIDS meeting all week are making the point that tackling it globally will require broader efforts to address problems of poverty including better access to overall health services and fighting stigma.
In the U.S., where new infections have stubbornly held at about 50,000 a year for a decade, complacency is part of the problem, Fenton added.
“We have to generate a new sense of urgency,” he said.
Overall, though, a characteristic of the young is to think they’re invincible, Fenton added.
Lawrence Stallworth II, 20, of Cleveland can attest that they’re not. He learned he was infected with HIV at age 17, when he was a high-school senior, after a hospitalization. A black gay man, he’s among one of the nation’s highest-risk groups.
He’s now an Ohio AIDS activist who works to teach young people that they need to protect themselves, and how.
“I want people to have the tools to keep themselves safe,” said Stallworth, who at this week’s AIDS conference is working with the nonprofit Advocates for Youth to increase young people’s awareness of an epidemic that in the U.S., today gets little publicity.
Part of that involves our society getting “better at being more open about being able to talk about sex,” Stallworth added. “It’s still a taboo issue.”
Indeed, at this week’s conference, the world’s largest AIDS meeting, young gay men are emerging as a population in special danger from rising HIV infections worldwide, and young black gay men especially in the U.S.
Black gay and bisexual men account for 1 in 500 Americans but 1 in 4 new HIV infections. The odds that a black man who has sex becomes infected rise from 1 in 4 at age 25 to a stunning 60 percent by age 40, said Phill Wilson of the Black AIDS Institute.
But they’re not the only ones at risk. The CDC recommends that everyone in the U.S. ages 13 to 65 be tested for HIV at least once. Those at increased risk – such as people who have multiple sex partners or men who have sex with men – should be tested more frequently, at least once a year.
In South Carolina, 18-year-old Quinandria Lee offers an example of the safe sex practices that CDC says more young people should adopt.
Lee was frustrated at her school’s abstinence-only focus. She learned about both male and female condoms from the South Carolina Contraceptive Campaign, and last year her principal allowed her to teach her classmates about them. Condoms are the only contraceptive that also protect against HIV infection.
But Lee credits her mother’s frank talk about sex with this key protective step: Lee persuaded her boyfriend to go with her to a clinic where both got a clean bill of health before they ever had sex. Still, they use a condom every time.
“It’s hard,” she said of that get-tested conversation. But “you can’t be too sure.”
from The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – A new Los Angeles law that requires porn actors to wear condoms goes into effect this week. However, the ordinance is filled with enough loopholes and questions surrounding its enforcement to render it nearly symbolic for the time being.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed the law into effect in January. The rules mandate condom use on adult film shoots outside of licensed sound stages but within city limits. A portion of the fee collected for adult film permits would go to periodic inspections of sets to monitor compliance.
The law was pushed by the the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, but Ged Kenslea, a spokesperson for the group, acknowledges that very few adult film companies actually get film permits. Kenslea estimates that 50,000 porn films are made each year in the city but only 200 permits per month are issued.
Because of this, if the law is to have any teeth, health officials will have to show up at sets, and law enforcement will be required to take action when condoms are not used. The law gave everyone six months to figure out the best enforcement protocol, and so far, the status of this is under a tremendous cloud of doubt and confusion.
The L.A. City Attorney’s Office has been rather reluctant to commit resources to the endeavor. Before the mayor signed the ordinance into effect, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation led efforts to put the question of whether condoms should be mandated to voters in a ballot measure, an action that drew a lawsuit from the city’s DA office. The lawsuit called into question whether the state, and not the city, had exclusive legal authority to mandate condoms. California’s health chief disagreed with that assessment, saying the city law was not preempted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
If enforcement does come, the law could spark further legal action from adult studios or actors in the business, perhaps challenging the measure on 14th Amendment grounds. The Free Speech Coalition, which represents the interests of many adult entertainment studios, has strongly objected to the new law.
“Mandatory condom regulation will not increase performer safety, it will diminish the successful standards and protocols already in place and compromise performer health,” said FSC executive director Diane Duke at the time of the law’s passage. “Government regulation of sexual behavior between consenting adults is, and has always been, a bad idea. The government has no business in our bedrooms — real or fantasy..”
from The Hollywood Reporter
Simi Valley Mayor Says Porn Industry Not Wanted
LA Council Tentatively OKs Porn Condom Ordinance
LOS ANGELES – An ordinance that would require porn actors to wear condoms during film shoots was tentatively approved by the City Council on Tuesday.
The council voted 11-1 for the proposal. The ordinance still requires a second vote next week for final approval.
Under the ordinance, porn producers would have to provide and require the use of condoms on set in order to obtain permits to film in the nation’s second-largest city.
Approval of the ordinance would supersede a proposed ballot initiative by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The group has long advocated for mandatory condom use in adult films and urged council members to approve the ordinance.
“This long struggle to move us to a place of making Los Angeles a safe place to make adult films has taken a huge leap forward today,” said foundation President Michael Weinstein, referring to advocacy work and legal attempts to create a mandate for condoms in porn and to enforce it.
The Free Speech Coalition, the porn industry’s trade association, issued a statement criticizing the vote and the incursion of government into sex films.
“Government regulation of filmmaking would likely undermine existing health and safety efforts and industry standards that are effective as well as take the government into dangerous new territory,” said Diane Duke, coalition executive director.
Duke said the porn industry has a low rate of sexually transmitted disease and there has been no transmission of HIV in the industry in five years.
The most recent HIV scare in the industry came when a male performer initially tested HIV positive, but retesting revealed he was free of the disease in September 2011, according to Duke.
Prior to that, porn actor Derrick Burts was diagnosed HIV-positive in December 2010 after working in gay and straight porn for a few months. Burts said he contracted the disease through those performances.
Duke and others don’t count Burts’ case as an industry-caused illness, alleging he contracted HIV outside the workplace.
Burts denies those allegations and called the council vote Tuesday “a huge, huge step in the right direction.”
The council also agreed to form a group comprised of law enforcement, state occupational safety regulators, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and other stakeholders to hammer out how to enforce the new rules.
The council also voted unanimously to drop a lawsuit filed by the city attorney against the foundation aimed at stopping its proposed ballot measure.
The group last month said it gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the June ballot.
The Free Speech Coalition opposes mandatory condom regulations but favors consistently testing adult film performers for sexually transmitted diseases.
from The Associated Press
Rise up, stand tall, and strap on an Occupy Wall Street condom. Apparently the Occupy Wall Street movement has grown big enough to warrant its own novelty condom.
Condomania has just released a new condom in honor of the Wall Street Protesters. Condomania says that 99% of the country is currently getting screwed so they might as well wear a condom.
“Occupy Condoms! Why? Whether or not you agree with the ‘demands’ of the Occupy Wall Street movement that is sweeping the U.S., one thing is for sure; lots of people out there are tired of feeling screwed. Occupy Condoms say it all in a neat little package while affording young protestors the protection they need to stay safe in the passionate frenzy that is social protest.”
But isn’t capitalizing on the movement a little hypocritical? Condomania believes that it has solved that problem by offering the condoms at a 70% discount. The regular price for a 30 pack of condoms, like the Obama Stimulus Package condoms, Sarah Palin Protection condoms, or Election Protection condoms, usually sell for about $40. The Occupy Wall Street condoms are going for just $11.99.
“Occupy Condoms are sold at a 70% discount to demonstrate our support for social change and the virtuous pursuit of equality for all. Mostly, we didn’t think it cool to be capitalizing quite so blatantly on a protest movement that itself is concerned about unscrupulous profiteering. So, we’ll just hope for some good buzz and a small amount of unscrupulous profits.”
What do you think of the Occupy Wall Street condoms? Do you think it’s wrong for a company to profit off of the movement? At least it will stop the spread of hippies, right?
from The InQuisitr
A surprising 80 percent of teenage boys say they are using condoms the first time they have sex, a government survey found in a powerful sign that decades of efforts to change young people’s sexual behavior are taking hold.
But another promising trend – a drop since the 1980s in the number of teenagers having sex – has leveled off.
Boys’ condom use may mean they are taking more responsibility for contraception or they are protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, experts say. Or, as one young man said, girls may be drawing the line.
“I’m not sure how much of this is guys thinking they need to use a condom or girls insisting they use a condom,” said 17-year-old Olivier Vanasse of Princeton, N.J. “I’d be hesitant to give guys credit for coming up with this on their own.”
The study, released Wednesday, is based on interviews with about 4,700 teenagers, ages 15 to 19, conducted from 2006 through 2010. It shows the percentage of boys who said they used condoms the first time they had sex climbed from 71 percent in 2002 to 80 percent in the new survey. In 1988, 55 percent of boys said they used a condom during their first sexual intercourse.
“It comes as a general surprise to people that teenagers in general and teen boys in particular can behave responsibly when it comes to making decisions about sex,” said Bill Albert, spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
The survey suggests that condom use continues. Asked if they used a condom the last time they had sex in the previous three months, 75 percent said they did, an increase from 71 percent in 2002.
from The San Francisco Chronicle
HAVANA, CUBA— Thanks to 5 decades of U.S. trade sanctions, Cubans have been making do with what they have for many years. And what they have a lot of is condoms.
Fidel has been controlling the island population by keeping rubbers revolutionarily cheap at about three for a penny!
So, the crafty people of Cuba have been getting creative with their surplus of condoms and these new creations have nothing to do with birth control.
Wrap your lips around the condom and start to blow. Notice how quickly it starts to grow. Yes, it’s the condom balloon. Injecting a new zing to any Havana fiesta you might be invited to.
And the kids love’em!
Want to take a nice dip into Havana Harbor, but you don’t want to ruin your phone? No problem amigo! Condoms make excellent water-proofers! Remember, if nothing leaks out of them, nothing leaks into them either!
Speaking of no leaks, Condoms make great liquid containers!
See…Buying drinks at the bar can get expensive, So some clever Cubans have figured out that by filling a condom with their favorite cocktail allows them to sneak a drink when no one is looking!
Nothing like a rum filled condom to get the night going! But careful that the shot doesn’t get in your eye! Party!
And use #4:
Say you want to play around a bit, but you don’t have any balls. Bust out your trusty rubber and give it a blow. Wrap an old shirt around it and some rope and in no time, you’ll be kicking it in style! Gooooooaaaaalllllll!!
So, thanks Cubans for showing us that necessity is truly the mother of invention.
Cuba and the condom are a perfect fit.
Kenya is facing a major shortage of condoms as demand outstrips supply, according to health authorities.
Responding to a documentary on Citizen TV, which showed Kenyans near the town of Isiolo washing condoms in hand basins in order to use them again, public health director Shahnaaz Sharif told reporters that high demand and supply problems meant that a January consignment of 19 million condoms lasted for around six weeks.
“The demand was eight million per month, then it went to 12 million and currently stands at around 20 million. That gives you the number of encounters people would have,” he said.
Condoms were still available in the private sector, he said. But with 75 per cent of condoms used in Kenya distributed by the government, close to 8 million people would not have access over the coming weeks.
Kenya has a population of 40 million people.
An emergency order of 45 million condoms has since been made to the US president’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.
However they will not be available for another three weeks.
Demand for condoms has risen 100 per cent according to the authorities, due in part to recent campaigns promoting condom use.
Billboards and radio advertisements regularly point to the importance of condom use, with warnings such as “Your secret lover probably has a secret lover.”
The campaigns started after confidence in condom use declined two years ago, following a news report that showed locally stocked brands to be defective.
KTN, a local TV station, filmed the Kenya Bureau of Standards filling condoms with water and found that many of them suffered leaks.
Poor distribution at the lowest levels of the healthcare system had caused the current shortage, explained the National Aids Control Programme deputy director Peter Cherutich, announcing that a long-term agreement had been signed with the United Nations Population Fund to supply 180 million condoms.
He added that the Kenyan government was also expecting an additional consignment of condoms in May, which was expected to last until August.
“The delivery bought 19 million condoms in January, which were distributed. But we are expecting others that will come in consistently beginning in May, for 30 million condoms each month, until August,” he said.
“We have procured vehicles that will transport these condoms to the interior but we must also appreciate that their delivery requires proper road networks and that is one of the challenges that we face,” he said.
Kenya has a 6.3 per cent HIV prevalence rate among adults according to Unicef, down from an estimated 12.8 per cent in 2000, when the government kickstarted a major preventive drive and began promoting condom use.
This followed a break in silence by the country’s leaders over the issue, with then president Daniel Arap Moi declaring the Aids epidemic a national disaster in 1999 and stating that “ in today’s world, condoms are a must”.
from The Irish Times
The adult film performer who tested HIV-positive at a San Fernando Valley clinic this fall spoke out for the first time Tuesday, calling for mandatory condom use in porn productions, improved testing for sexually transmitted disease and follow-up care for fellow performers.
Derrick Burts, 24, said he tested HIV-positive in October at the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation in Sherman Oaks after working in both gay and straight porn films for a few months. He had previously been identified only as Patient Zeta.
Producers of straight porn regularly check performers’ test results using a database maintained by the clinic, known as AIM, to clear actors for work.
Burts, who performed in straight films as “Cameron Reid” and gay films as “Derek Chambers,” said he was tested at the clinic Oct. 8, then received a panicked call from clinic staff the following afternoon, summoning him to the office.
When he got there, he said, clinic staff told him that he had tested HIV-positive. They wanted to perform a follow-up test and begin notifying performers he had worked with since his last negative test result Sept. 3. Those performers, he was told, would be placed on a quarantine list while they, too, were tested.
Burts said he gave clinic staff the names of about a dozen performers he had worked with in California and Florida in both gay and straight productions. The list included his girlfriend, who also works in the industry as a performer. He watched as clinic staff began scanning a performer database, notifying those he had named and placing them on a quarantine list.
The clinic has since said that none of the performers on its quarantine list tested positive. Burts confirmed that his girlfriend tested negative.
He said that when he returned to the clinic Oct. 23 to review the second test results, clinic staff told him that they had traced his HIV infection to someone he had performed a scene with whom they described to him as a “known positive.”
Although straight porn performers must show negative HIV test results before filming, the gay porn industry does not have the same restrictions, although condom use is typically required.
Burts said he asked who the performer was and clinic staff told him they could not reveal the performer’s name or gender due to patient confidentiality.
Clinic officials could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night. An attorney for the clinic was traveling outside the United States, according to an e-mail received from him earlier in the day.
Burts says he may have contracted the disease during a gay porn shoot in Florida. He said the performers used condoms during intercourse but not during oral sex.
Contrary to Burts’ account of what he was told, clinic officials released a statement last month saying “Patient Zeta acquired the virus through private, personal activity.”
“That’s completely false,” Burts said Tuesday. “There is no possible way. The only person I had sex with in my personal life was my girlfriend.”
Before he left the clinic Oct. 23, Burts said clinic staff put him in touch with a doctor affiliated with the clinic and promised to arrange for his follow-up care.
Burts said no one followed up, and he felt neglected.
“AIM promised they would help me set up a doctor and get treatment,” he said. “They did none of that.”
Burts said AIM staff had warned him not to contact the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, whose officials have been among the clinic’s chief critics. In frustration, Burts said he went to an AIDS Healthcare Foundation center in Los Angeles on Nov. 24 and saw a doctor, never identifying himself as Patient Zeta.
Pleased with the care he received at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Burts contacted the group’s leaders last week, identified himself as Patient Zeta and said he wanted to speak out on their behalf and in favor of enforcing mandatory condom use in porn productions. Foundation officials have scheduled a news conference with Burts for 10 a.m. Wednesday.
“AIM likes to state that testing is enough. That’s completely false,” he said, noting that in the months before he tested positive for HIV, he had also contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes.
“It’s very dangerous,” he said of adult film work. “It should be required that you wear a condom on the set.”
Burts, who grew up in Whittier and Hemet, graduated from Hemet High School and a hotel management school in Florida and worked as a hotel manager and cruise ship magician before becoming a porn performer for the money. He said he earned $200 to $800 for filming a straight scene and $1,000 to $2,000 for a gay scene.
Looking back, he said he wishes he had known more about the risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases in the industry.
“Making $10,000 or $15,000 for porn isn’t worth your life,” he said. “Performers need to be educated.”
from The Los Angeles Times
HIV Tests Negative For Porn Actors Who Performed With ‘Patient Zero’
INDIA - “Not tonight honey, it’s expensive.” This might soon replace the old line about headaches in Indian bedrooms, as condom manufacturers are grappling with an unprecedented rise in the price of latex, the key raw material behind the ubiquitous contraceptive. With latex prices ballooning nearly 200% year-on-year, condom manufacturers are set to announce price hikes across product lines, in a move that will likely have a deflationary effect on condom sales.
In a highly-competitive segment with little brand loyalty, firms are yet to decide on the quantum of the hike. Hikes are expected to be first announced in the high-end segments and are likely to be in the region of 10-15%.
As latex prices have risen dramatically in the course of the year, many small-scale manufacturers have gone out of business. “We have been forced to buy latex at a high price which is impacting our bottom line,” said Rajneesh Jain, director, Secure PersonalCare, a Gujarat-based condom manufacturer. At least half-a-dozen units in the small-scale sector have downed shutters, unable to contain the rising costs, he said.
It is not just the small-scale units that are feeling the pinch of latex price rise in the Rs 1,000-crore industry. Large companies are also moving to tide over the spike in prices. HLL Lifecare, which manufactures the Moods brand of condoms, is likely to announce a rate hike in two stages. It will increase its prices in the export market initially. “After this, we will bring about a similar price hike in the branded segment in the domestic market. But it will not be immediate,” M Ayyappan, chairman and managing director, HLL Lifecare, said. The whole process is likely to take about six months, he added.
In the branded segment, most companies are marketing different types of condoms. Moods, for instance, markets condoms that range from Rs15 to Rs 25 for a packet of three. TTK LIG, which manufactures the Kohinoor brand, and JK Ansell, the makers of the Kamasutra brand, are the top two players by sales, in the non-government retail market.
The government is the single-largest buyer of condoms and accounts for bulk of the revenues for many companies. The price of latex has gone up to Rs135 per kg from Rs46 per kg a year ago. Latex accounts for about 22% of the material costs in condom manufacturing. The industry has so far refrained from a price hike due to competition from imported condoms. Condoms from China and Malaysia are flooding the local market. On an average, they are about 15% cheaper than domestic brands, despite the 10% customs duty.
Despite the rise in latex prices, companies like Chennai-based TTK LIG has not raised price in the recent past. “We are studying the issue of latex price rise and would soon decide how to go about it,” said a senior TTK LIG official. The company has a requirement of 250 tonnes of latex per month. They also market the international brand Durex in India.
India’s condom industry has about 10-15 players, of which, only three to four are big players. Many small players manufacture for larger players under the original equipment manufacturer system, and also market regional brands.
While the condom manufacturers can think in terms of a price hike in the open market, they are in a tight spot as far as government supplies are concerned. For a company like HLL Lifecare, which sells 70-75% of its production to the government, this is all the more important. “We are hoping that there would be a rate hike,” Mr Ayyappan said. The company has made representations to the government for a price revision.
The government buys condoms from companies at an average price of Rs 1.40 to Rs 1.50 per piece. About 75% of the government’s purchase is from public sector unit, HLL, and the rest from private sector.
from The Economic Times
Looking for a little action?
You might want to try the San Francisco County Jail’s San Bruno lockup, where authorities have installed 16 condom machines for the jail’s 750 prisoners.
The condom dispensers are the latest evolution in a safe-sex program that began in 1989, when health workers began distributing condoms to inmates as part of their counseling before they were released.
And although sex among inmates technically is illegal, the Sheriff’s Department went ahead and installed the 16 machines anyway – one for each jailhouse pod – paid for by a pair of small grants from UCSF and a Southern California nonprofit.
“It may be controversial,” Sheriff Michael Hennessey said, “but I think the larger health education message is important.”
As for the chance that all those machines will actually promote jailhouse sex?
The sex already takes place, says Kate Monico Klein, who is directing the program for the city’s Public Health Department. “If (providing condoms) saves one or two lives, it’s worth it,” she said.
from The San Francisco Chronicle
Studio stands up against Swiss manufacturer of ‘Harry Popper’ condoms for copyright infringement.
It’s the boy wizard as you’ve never seen him before. He has the trademark round spectacles and the regulation magic wand. But his tongue is extended in a lascivious manner and his thoughts are purely carnal. For good measure, he is in the guise of a pink, pimpled prophylactic.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is amused. Warner Bros this week sued the Swiss manufacturer of the “Harry Popper” condoms for copyright infringement. “The image of my client is in danger,” a studio lawyer complained to the Swiss newspaper Bote. “This is clearly a reference to the film and fictional character of Harry Potter. Everyone who sees the condoms automatically thinks of Harry Potter.” The Harry Popper condoms have reportedly been on sale since 2006.
The Harry Potter brand is worth an estimated £15bn and lawyers for both Warner Bros and author JK Rowling have earned a reputation for protecting their product. In 2008, the studio launched a similar lawsuit against a Hindi-language Bollywood production, Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors. The suit was eventually thrown out by an Indian court.
For the time being, condom manufacturers Magic X are standing firm. “Our product has nothing to do with Harry Potter,” claimed a spokesperson for the company.
from The Guardian