Government's MAX condoms guaranteed safe: health department

Comment comes after reports that condoms were being reused in Vietnam

30 September 2020 - 17:19
By mpumzi zuzile AND Mpumzi Zuzile
The government and the bureau of standards have assured SA that government-issued condoms are safe to use.
Image: 123RF/yeko The government and the bureau of standards have assured SA that government-issued condoms are safe to use.

The South African government has assured South Africans that government-issued condoms are safe to use.

The assurance came in a joint statement by the health department and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), and follows reports that condoms were being recycled and re-sold in Vietnam.

“Condoms cannot and should not be shared, reused or recycled. SA has made great strides in reducing the spread of HIV and Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases, and we will not compromise the health of our nation,” health director-general Dr Sandile Buthelezi said.

Buthelezi said the government, especially his department, remained vigilant and committed to ensuring that quality health products and services are available to every community.

Buthelezi said his department distributes a billion free condoms each year. “Every batch of these condoms, which are branded as MAX, is subject to stringent manufacturing and packing requirements and testing is conducted against a South African national standard. South African MAX condoms are of the highest quality and South Africans are encouraged to use these and to dispose of them responsibly,” Buthelezi added.

He said each pack contains individually foiled packed condoms, in lubricant.

“The packaging clearly stipulates the batch and lot number, the expiration date and the ‘SABS Approvedquality mark. South Africans should not use expired condoms, or packages that seem to be damaged or leaking. Each condom can be used only once and should be wrapped in tissue or toilet paper after use and disposed of in a bin,” the statement reads.

SABS’s lead administrator, Jodi Scholtz, said every batch of MAX condoms that is distributed in SA is subject to stringent testing and quality control by the bureau.

“The SABS tests every batch of MAX condoms in a dedicated, accredited laboratory based in Groenkloof, Pretoria. The condoms issued by the NDoH are subjected to additional testing and sampling criteria to increase the quality controls contained in the national and global standards,” Sholtz said.

Sholtz said if a sample fails any of the tests, the whole batch will be destroyed, thus ensuring that no defective products will enter the South African market.