South Africa recalls 'faulty' ANC celebration condoms

Women from the mining community pass out condoms and educational leaflets on 2 April 2004 in the Witbank District in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. South Africa has one of the highest HIV infection rates

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South Africa's leading HIV group has warned that large numbers of "faulty" condoms are in circulation in the Bloemfontein area, despite a recall.

The problem with the condoms was discovered after people complained to the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

Health authorities have recalled more than one million condoms handed out ahead of the recent African National Congress centenary celebrations.

They say they are still investigating claims that the condoms are porous.

A batch of 8,700 boxes - which all bore the South African Bureau of Standards stamp - were delivered to guesthouses, hotels, restaurants and bars before the ANC celebrations.

The Free State Health Department says it is recalling the estimated 1.35 million condoms as a "precautionary measure" - and urged the public not to panic.

But TAC's Sello Mokhalipi told the BBC that condoms "are still out there in large numbers and that is of great concern to us".

"The complaints are that the condoms broke during intercourse," he said.

TAC says it conducted its own investigation using some of the condoms that had been handed out for the centenary celebrations and found them to be porous.

"When you poured water in them, the water seeped through," Mr Mokhalipi said.

Free State Health Department spokesperson Jabu Mbalula said the health authority could neither confirm nor deny that the condoms are faulty until it has concluded its own tests on the recovered condoms.

This is the first time that Free State province - which has a population of 5.5 million people - has had to recall condoms.

The last major recall of condoms in South Africa was in August 2007 when 20 million were recalled after "hundreds of thousands" were found to be faulty.

South Africa has one of the highest infection rates of HIV - the virus that causes Aids - in the world.

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