Conflict & Justice

Innovation of the Day: Camouflage Condoms


A pack of the new South African condoms 'sexy and fun', launched 14 June 2004 in Benoni in Johannesburg. (ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)



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Well, there's no point in burying the lead on this one.

South African soldiers have recently been equipped with camouflage condoms. 

Yes, camo condoms — with a side of morality.

According to News24, the traditionally bright blue, shiny packet with the familiar gray condoms inside has been replaced by camouflage packaging.

The military is dishing out these new, flashy condoms to soldiers — along with a lecture on morality — before they are deployed. 

Now, while we realize that camouflage wrapping may not be quite as exciting as an actual camouflage condom, we're not above giving kudos when it's due.

We here at GlobalPost applaud the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) for the innovative marketing and morality maneuver — especially given that there are alternative and, ahem, more suggestive, versions of the camo condoms.

But there's a serious side to this. South Africa is believed to have more people living with HIV than any other country in the world, explains GlobalPost's senior correspondent in Johannesburg, Erin Conway-Smith.

She helped out translating some of the text on the labels. The wrapper says "masibambisane," which means "we all come together," or "let us help each other," in Zulu.

Masibambisane is also the name of the South African defense department's dedicated HIV/AIDS education and prevention campaign, which last month said there is an HIV prevalence rate of 8.5 percent among soldiers.

This is compared to a national HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of around 17 people, according to the United Nations AIDS agency, UNAIDS.

If you do a little searching on the internet for camouflage contraception, you will quickly come across, a site which touts its products through two quick quips: "Protection When In The Bush" and "Don't Let Them See You Coming."

So really, when you think about it, the South Africans' camos for commandos campaign seems oddly fitting and appropriately thematic in comparison.

Plus — the soldiers apparently have been known to use the condoms to cover their rifle barrels in dusty conditions. 

Practicality with a flair for the eccentric. We approve.