Flashback: Condoms, Comedy and Trevor Noah

By Maria Dieter, Communications Assistant, PSI “Why do our condoms sound like vuvuzelas?” In 2014, that’s what South Africans were asking when their government-issued condoms weren’t making the grade. And how can condoms prevent HIV if no one wants to use them? Let’s flash back to September 2016, when comedian Trevor Noah explained how the South African

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Teen pregnancy

Teenage Pregnancy on Rise in South Africa

By C. Montague Hermann, PSI Social Marketing Technical Advisor PSI Social Marketing Technical Advisor C. Montague Hermann regularly writes about news and his opinion on what’s happening in the condom business in East Africa and beyond for his blog, Condom Collective. Read below as Hermann updates us on the rate of teenage pregnancy in South Africa.  

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Safer Sex

Making Safer Sex a Profitable Enterprise

In PSI’s latest issue of Pulse, our digital quarterly report, we explore how smart innovation is feeding the pipeline for tomorrow’s health interventions around the globe — from teen centered programs actually created by teens to new ways to collect and analyze critical data to inform smarter decisions. Here’s a preview: PSI’s Lovers+ and Trust brands of condoms and lubricant have

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The Greatest Gift: Improving Couple HIV Testing Rates in South Africa

Today, at the 2015 World Social Marketing conference in Sydney, Australia, Tessa Meyer, head of marketing and communications for PSI’s South Africa network partner SFH, will present her findings for how to use social marketing to get couples to test for HIV together. Meyers’ abstract is a finalist for top abstract at the conference. By

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Making Safe Sex Fun on April Fools’ Day

By Regina Moore, Manager, External Relations, PSI On April 1, 2014 thousands of South Africans grabbed their morning paper or switched on the radio news to hear of a new sex tax imposed by the government. After a recently conducted study showed over-population as the driver for many of the country’s challenges, the new law,

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It Takes a Market to get Men to Use Condoms in Africa. Here's How.

What can be done to increase the use of condoms by men in African countries? PSI and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) teamed up over the past year to study and report on the state of play in six African countries. The results are out in six new case studies that will be presented during a  consultative meeting on the Total Market Approach that PSI and UNFPA are hosting, today and tomorrow.

During the meeting, participants will discuss the findings from the six case studies conducted in African countries. Then, representatives from ten organizations will discuss how they can work together to support the development and implementation of the Total Market Approach in national markets for male condoms and other family planning supplies.

The UNFPA sponsored case studies were carried out in the past 12 months with support from two independent researchers in Botswana, Lesotho, Mali, South Africa, Swaziland, and Uganda. All of the countries have large condom social marketing programs, are affected by HIV, and have high maternal morbidity and mortality relative to their economic development.

Content for the case studies was based on a review of the literature, seven key TMA metrics calculated from national-level data, and interviews with stakeholders. All case studies were subject to review by stakeholders, including Ministries of Health and non-governmental organizations in all six countries, UNFPA’s local and regional offices, UNFPA headquarters in New York City, PSI country and regional offices, and PSI’s headquarters in Washington DC.

Each case study describe the market for male condoms in each of the countries, and the roles of the public, social marketing, and commercial sectors in those markets.

The cases illustrate the universe of need for condoms, levels of use, socioeconomic equity among users, and the market presence of condoms for reproductive health and HIV prevention (dual protection).

They also propose a set of recommendations for improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of condom markets.

The studies aim to inform the development of appropriate, evidence-based decisions to increase condom use equitably and sustainably through actions undertaken in the public, socially marketed, and commercial sectors.

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Nearing the tipping point against AIDS

AIDS activists say the tipping point against AIDS will be when more people are on life-saving treatment for the first time than the number of new cases each year. The ONE Campaign calls the point the beginning of the end of AIDS. We are not there yet, but some countries are doing well. Unfortunately those lagging are mostly located in the Global South.

The NGO AVAC decided to analyze how countries are doing in their fight to end AIDS. There is some good news, but countries like Nigeria with its giant population, threaten to circumvent progress. The New York Times highlighted the findings writing:

“There’s all this talk about ending AIDS,” said Mitchell Warren, AVAC’s executive director. “We wanted to find a mechanism that could chart the progress over time, and use it as a management tool, and to make comparisons between countries that are doing the right things and the others.”

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Inspiring and Empowering Youth – From the Football Pitch to the Community

Elise Braunschweig Kaufman is one of 100 Young Leaders from around the world selected to participate in a leadership development program as part of the 2013 Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, May 27-30, 2013. The Young Leaders program at this year’s conference is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. The following post is excerpted from an interview.

Tell us about yourself!

I am originally from the U.S. and spent the last four years living in Lusaka, Zambia and Cape Town, South Africa. There, I worked on gender-focused programs with Grassroot Soccer, an international HIV prevention organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people in the fight against HIV and AIDS. I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health in Developing Countries and conducting research on intimate partner violence in South Africa at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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What Male Circumcision Taught Us About the Future of Funding for Global Health

By Karl Hofmann, President and CEO, PSI

Private capital is needed to test and develop proof that existing health solutions can be adapted to a developing world context. Once this proof is established, the solution has the power to unlock the large-scale government funding needed to dramatically improve health across the developing world.

As demonstrated in a new report released this week by PSI’s Impact magazine and Devex, in partnership with Fenton Communications, the landscape for global health financing has changed dramatically. High-income governments that provide foreign aid for health have steadily increased their support over the last decade. That support is now leveling or shrinking due to budget constraints. Governments are under increased pressure to reduce risk and ensure that all public funds for foreign aid are invested in solutions that guarantee results.

As a result, corporations, foundations and philanthropists are now taking an active role to help protect the progress already made against serious threats to health and economies like HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and lack of access to family planning, which remain as urgent as ever. They are providing private capital to fund the type of innovation that governments cannot afford to advance on their own.

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Desmond Tutu Blows the Whistle on TB in South Africa's Mines

There is a problems spreading throughout South Africa’s mines. It is one that affects the workers who often work long hours in tight conditions away from their families. Archbishop Desmond Tutu took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal this week to shine a light on the problem. “Fueled by new drug-resistant strains and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, TB is spreading like wildfire through South Africa’s mines and to the world beyond,” he wrote.

TB has been a problem in the mines of South Africa for quite some time. It continues to infect miners and is getting worse as it can contribute to the development of new drug resistant strains of TB which will present a problem to not only the miners but the rest of the world. Tutu argues that South Africa must do a better job a detecting cases of TB in miners and ensuring that those with TB receive the proper treatment.

The work can be devastatingly toxic for the body. South Africa’s 500,000 mine workers have the highest recorded rate of TB among any demographic in the world. The conditions that give rise to such epidemics also fed recent strikes in our platinum mines, which descended into tragedy and dozens of deaths in August in the country’s Marikana region.

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TB on the Rise in South Africa

TB is up in South Africa. It stands out among neighboring countries that are seeing the rate of TB decline.  Nulda Beyers from the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at the University of Stellenbosch explained the problem at a recent conference.  allAfrica reported on her remarks:

“The factors promoting the development of this disease are largely social and environmental,” said Beyers. They include housing, nutrition, family size, exposure to toxins such as tobacco smoke, and the presence of other conditions such as HIV infection and diabetes.

n all cases, the poorest areas had the highest TB rates. Richer areas had much lower levels of TB.

Beyers said the reason that TB rates were high was not because South Africans didn’t go to clinics and hospitals for treatment, it was because of poor levels of treatment and inconsistent treatment.

“Poor treatment is worse than no treatment,” she said, explaining the dangers of interrupting or failing to complete courses of TB treatment.

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South Africa Takes the Lead on AIDS Fight

Secretary of State Clinton is in the middle of her tour across Africa. Stops so far have included Senegal, Malawi and South Africa. Clinton delivered remarks at each of her visits, but health came to the forefront in South Africa.

Specifically, Clinton commended the work of South Africa in the fight against AIDS and signaled a new way for ward for PEPFAR’s work in the country. “South Africa is taking the lead, and I want publicly to commend your minister of health and his associates who are widely being given great admiration around the world for the success of their efforts,”  said Clinton.

According to Reuters, Clinton signed a deal with South Africa that would give the country the ability to have more discretionary spending power over PEPFAR funds.

U.S. officials said South Africa will be the first PEPFAR country to begin to “nationalize” its program, but others would be expected to follow as their capacities increase and the United States seeks to more effectively target its overseas assistance in an atmosphere of budget austerity at home.

The United States has spent $3.2 billion since 2004 on anti-AIDS programs in South Africa, where 5.7 million people are infected – or close to 18 percent of the adult population.

It has budgeted $460 million for South Africa under PEPFAR in 2013, but U.S. officials say that amount is expected to gradually drop in the coming five years.

“South Africa over the next decade will be committing more of its own public health funds to deal with people with HIV,” a senior U.S. official travelling with Clinton’s party said.

South Africa says about 1.7 million are now on treatment and the rate of mother-to-child transmission has dropped from 8 percent in 2008 to 2.7 per cent in 2011.

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