Worldwide, the condom industry is predicted to experience significant growth in the next 10 years. The number of users is expected to increase by more than 40 percent by 2015, to some 742 million, both from population growth and prevalence of use. The industry holds a lot of promise, not so much in the United States, but primarily in developing countries. An estimated 350 million couples around the world today still do not have access to modern methods of contraception. Whereas prevention of pregnancy is still a primary function of condom use, the driving force for growth continues to be prevention of disease. The total number of AIDS deaths between 1981 and the end of 2003 is now at approximately 20 million. The number of children orphaned by AIDS living in Sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2003 is estimated to be 12 million. By December 2004, women accounted for 47% of all people living with HIV worldwide, and for 57% in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2003, young people (15-24 years old) accounted for half of all new HIV infections worldwide, and more than 6,000 are becoming infected with HIV every day. Table 1 clearly shows that the Sub-Saharan African continent is the area of primary need for products manufactured for reducing the advance of HIV.[i] The growth in condom use for this sector of the world is however impacted by economic restrictions on the part of consumers in this region. Nonetheless, condom use is growing in this area, and governments of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are taking more aggressive steps to explore means to implement awareness programs through condom usage.
The writer has been involved in the planning and exploration of several possible condom manufacturing facilities in Africa over the last 12 years. In all cases, the projects were not implemented, and factories never even broke ground for construction. Unfortunately, moves to establish condom factories in this region seem to quickly diminish against the wake of governmental corruption, lack of seasoned project management, lack of private investment capital, and demographic forces working against new technology for preventing AIDS. For example, local “medicine men” and physicians rely on their livelihood by “treating” HIV infected people. They represent just one of a few groups of people that will work vigorously against implementation of technologies that could reduce the HIV incidence rate.
In spite of this, condom usage is growing in Africa. Uganda has been lauded in the international press recently for its declining HIV rate. Condoms are one part of the ABC approach (Abstinence, Be faithful, and Condomize) and condom availability in Uganda reflects the success of this message. Condom consumption for in recent years in Uganda has been estimated at 30 million in 2001, 39 million in 2002, and 80 million in 2003. The biggest challenge for Uganda is reported to be the distribution of condoms to rural areas and the proper distribution of such huge numbers of condoms, so that people who need them can easily get them.
(Condom and sex education in Uganda)
Table 1 - Regional statistics for HIV & AIDS at end of 2004
|Region | |Adults & Children | |Living with HIV/AIDS* | |Adults & Children | |Newly Infected | |Adult Infection...