South Africa: Call to Practise Safe Sex

Members of the public light candles at a symbolic grave marked in Eldoret on World Aids Day (file photo).

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has encouraged South Africans to engage in safe sexual practices by using SABS certified condoms.

This plea comes as the world observes World Aids Day, on 1 December, which serves as a reminder to everyone that HIV/AIDS is still prevalent and precautions are necessary.

According to Statistics South Africa, the total number of people living with HIV in 2021 was approximately 8.2 million.

"At the SABS, we take all matters of public health and consumer safety very seriously. While the world is focussing on fighting COVID-19, we also want to remind South Africans that the HIV pandemic also requires sustained attention and that all citizens should continue to use condoms and practice safe sex," said SABS Lead Administrator Jodi Scholtz.

Scholtz said the SABS has a dedicated condom testing facility that ensures that all batches of condoms are tested in strict laboratory conditions, in accordance to stringent criteria and that consumers can rest assured that all SABS approved products are safe to use.

Should the SABS experience any sample failure, the entire batch of condoms will be disqualified to ensure that no defective products will enter the market.

The testing and certification of condoms, in South Africa, is mandatory. The SABS is the appointed certification body for the National Department of Health and National Treasury is contracted to conduct the testing and certification of all public health condoms.

The 'SABS Approved' mark appears on all government issued condoms, which are branded as MAX condoms. MAX condoms are available free to all South Africans at various distribution points.

Additional safety precautions by the user include a visual inspection to ensure that individual packets are not leaking, torn or broken, been exposed to extreme heat or expired.

Condoms help in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

The SABS also certifies and tests other brands of condoms according to the criteria contained in SANS/ISO 4074: requirements for natural rubber latex condoms. MAX condoms are tested to SANS/ISO 4074 as well as additional criteria set by the National Department of Health and at a higher testing frequency, thus ensuring a superior quality.

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