A Kenyan distribution company has confirmed that fake condoms are in circulation, sparking health fears. As the world marks the International Condoms Day Tuesday, Population Services Kenya, which distributes Trust condoms, Monday confirmed suspicions that there were fake studded condoms in circulation.
The World Condom Day is marked annually to reinforce the important role the rubber plays in HIV/Aids prevention.
PS Kenya said authorities had begun investigations to establish how the counterfeit batch of condoms got into the country and ended up being sold.
"It is unfortunate that some individuals are eroding the efforts made as a country in distribution of high quality condoms," PS Kenya said in a statement.
The company issued an alert, warning Kenyans of the dangers of using the fakes.
They include getting pregnant and sexually transmitted diseases.
In half-page adverts in the dailies, PS Kenya asked unwary shoppers to look out for the "true marks of Trust Studded condoms".
"With Trust Studded condoms, you get high quality value condoms that you can rely on," the advertisement said.
"Look out for the marks of quality on our packs to ensure you are purchasing authentic Trust packs. Do not compromise."
According to the advert, consumers of the products should check the front face of a pack of Trust Studded condoms and ensure it has a triple tested icon at the bottom left side and a white stripe with pack content.
The name "STUDDED" should also appear in bold at the centre of the pack.
The spine of the pack, the advertisement went on, should have content information and "only bear PS-Kenya contact details. Nothing more".
According to sources the Nation talked to, a consignment with a batch of fake condoms arrived in the country last Wednesday, triggering fears among authorities and subsequently the two-day advertisement in dailies.
It cautioned the public to be extra vigilant when buying the products.
On Saturday, the company began a countrywide safety sensitisation drive "seeking to educate consumers on unique product markings to enable them identify the right Trust Studded condoms".
PS Kenya said by adapting the look of its brand, makers of the counterfeit were infringing on the intellectual property of its products.
Condoms are celebrated for contraception and protecting individuals against sexually transmitted infections.
However, their success is tied to correct and consistent use.
Experts say faulty condoms can increase the chances of transmission of HIV and other STIs as well as the likelihood of pregnancy.
This is because they are made of substandard material and could therefore break or tear easily when in use.
Unwary shoppers could easily fall for the fakes.
Previously, counterfeiters have copied well-known condom brands such as Durex.
In 2013, a huge international underground ring of counterfeit condom manufacturers was shutdown in China after almost five million french letters with fake brand names were impounded when they were just about to be shipped abroad, ABC News reported.