Coffee condoms promote safe sex in Ethiopia – By David Batty and agencies

November 2nd, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Doctors have long argued over the health effects of coffee, but its reputation looks set to receive a boost thanks to a new flavoured condom that aims to encourage safer sex in Ethiopia. (more…)

Doctors have long argued over the health effects of coffee, but its reputation looks set to receive a boost thanks to a new flavoured condom that aims to encourage safer sex in Ethiopia.

Around 300,000 of the coffee condoms were sold in one week when they were launched in September, according to the US charity DKT International.

It hopes to tap into Ethiopia’s coffee mania as a means to tackle high rates of HIV in the country, which is said to have invented the drink.

The charity said that with 2.1% of Ethiopians infected with Aids – and more than 7% in the capital, Addis Ababa – the flavoured prophylactic was more than a novelty.

“Everybody likes the flavour of coffee,” says a DKT spokeswoman.

The condoms are sold in packs of three for 1 birr, or about 5 pence – about half the price of a cup of coffee in Addis Ababa’s cafes, and much cheaper than most other condom brands.

The dark brown condoms smell like Ethiopia’s popular macchiato, an espresso with a generous amount of cream and sugar.

“It is about time to use an Ethiopian flavour for beautiful Ethiopian girls,” said Dereje Alemu, a 19-year-old university student.

The product was developed after complaints by some users about the latex scent of plain condoms.

DTK has previously introduced flavoured condoms in other parts of the world in an attempt to appeal to local tastes. These included condoms scented with the infamously stinky durian fruit in Indonesia, and sweetcorn-fragranced condoms in China.

The charity’s latest condom has attracted some criticism in deeply conservative Ethiopia.

“It’s inappropriate,” said Bedilu Assefa, a spokesman for the Ethiopian Orthodox church, whose millions of followers are encouraged to abstain from sex outside marriage. “We’re proud of our coffee.”

But even those not sold on the idea of coffee condoms recognise the importance of safe sex.

“I hate coffee-flavored condoms,” said Tadesse Teferi, a 37-year-old mechanic. “But I use ordinary condoms when I have sex with ladies other than my wife.”

  1. | #1

    “I hate coffee-flavored condoms,” said Tadesse Teferi, a 37-year-old mechanic. “But I use ordinary condoms when I have sex with ladies other than my wife.”

    –Ummmmm, then what is marriage for?

  2. anon
    | #2

    A2007

    The primary reason for “flavoring” condoms is to increase sales for the manufacturers. I don’t think these are interested in the unintended consequences of their actions. Quick bucks is the point.

    What mental images will “coffee condoms” produce? How will associating coffee with sex (rather sex outside marriage) affect society? How will the product undermine social interactions and cultural mores?

    Already we are hearing labels thrown around: coffee condoms (Ethiopia), stinky durian fruit condoms (Indonesia) and sweetcorn-fragranced condoms (China), etc.

    More research needs to be undertaken to determine the long term impact of such ventures. And ofcourse one is NOT obligated to use them. And if too many people choose not to the product the merchandizers will have a pretty stiff challenge making profit.

  3. | #3

    I am afraid that introducing these condoms mean enouraging people to have sex out of marriage. I noted the comments given in the report above that a man commented ‘It is time to use coffee an Ethiopian flavour for beautiful girls’. It is embarassing that this kind of comment is incorporated in the report as it has a negative message to others. Although I believe that sex without marriage should not be encouraged, and as a matter of fact many youths are involved in it, using condoms can be a preventive mechanism. I also believe and assume that the primary concern of DKT is not profit rather work on prevention. We know that it is supported by donors and shouldn’t at all work for profit.

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