In an effort to promote safe sex and reduce the infection rate of HIV, the Botswana government has launched an initiative to promote the female condom. The Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, has estimated that 140,000 of Botswana’s 1.8 million citizens are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. While the government has provided free antiretroviral drugs to HIV positive individuals, the unpopularity of the female condom and power imbalances between the sexes have hampered the success of prevention efforts.
A marketing team has brightly packaged the condoms and renamed them “Bliss” in the hopes that it will persuade more women to use the condom. An art director of the condom’s redesign, Derick Muchena noted, “The earlier product’s packaging was dull and did not stand out much, so we decided to use brighter colors and a sexy name,” IRIN reports. The Ministry of Health and the marketing agency have distributed leaflets promoting Bliss and will also launch a television ad.
David Ngele, the national coordinator of Botswana Network of People Living with AIDS, expressed hopes that, by popularizing female condoms, women would be able to initiate safe sex with a male partner. Ngele told IRIN that female condoms would hopefully “help change the current mindset of men and help empower women.”