“An estimated 13 billion condoms per year are needed to help halt the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, according to UNAIDS. The reality falls short.” (UNFPA)
A condom here, a condom there; in this land of condoms aplenty it would have never dawned on me, as a college student at Arizona State University, to value the wondrous supply of condoms. However, after writing a freshman English paper on deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth related complications, I was led to the disturbing truth of the relationship between condom supply and demand throughout developing countries, even those ravaged by HIV/AIDS and STDs. In 2008, only around 15% of the condom demand in developing countries was filled (AVERT). With the high occurrence of HIV/AIDS epidemic in many developing countries, many people assume that condoms are as available everywhere as they are in the US. This common misconception is what I believe to be the downfall of condom supply throughout the world.
Many people believe that with enough condoms in developing countries, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the spread of other STDs could significantly decrease. In the past, instead of focusing on filling the developing world’s condom demand, most energy has been donated to finding a cure and providing the already infected victims with medications, both of which are important. However, I believe that not working to provide the developing world with sufficient condoms is stealing the chance of a healthy life from thousands. Not only could we hinder the spread of one of the world’s most infamous enemies, but with ample condom supply, we could also greatly decrease the number of deaths that are claimed by unsafe abortions.
What we can do
I want to create a new energy, one focused on a single goal: filling the world’s condom demand. My strategy is to create an organization which provides condoms that for every condom sold, one is also donated to a person in need. Whether it be an organization that sells its own condoms or pairs with a major condom brand to reach its goals, I believe this strategy has great potential to be a successful one.
With an organization such as this, all we would need to do is buy condoms. If it is a product we already buy, the most we would have to sacrifice would be perhaps spending a few more cents per condom or switching to a different condom brand.
With a strategy so simple, to not give it a chance would be stealing the chances a healthy life, free from HIV/AIDS, from far too many people. Everyone has a right to a healthy life and if I can do something to protect this right, it would be wrong of me to not take action. Once said by writer Sydney Smith, “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can” (Gullimets). I would love to know how you feel as well. Please join me in discussion of the following questions:
AVERT. “Condoms: Effectiveness, History, and Availability.” AVERT (2010).
Gullimets, Terry. “Quotations About Confidence.” The Quote Garden (2010).
UNFPA. “Comprehensive Condom Programming: A Strategic Response to HIV and AIDS.” UNFPA.
Sophie is in her second year at Arizona State University studying Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic. After spending a year abroad in Brazil, she became interested in international social work and hopes to one day work for a non-profit organization. After doing some research about condom supply and demand throughout developing countries, she has become passionate about filling that demand, however that may be, and hopes to work towards this goal until it is reached.