South African President Jacob Zuma’s recent state visit to Britain seems to be yielding fruit. Zuma, who took along a dozen cabinet ministers and 200 businesspeople, had not only economic interests in his agenda.
His country is hosting soccer World Cup in three months time and thousands of soccer fans will flock into the country.
With the anticipated influx of visitors for the World cup – warnings are already out that an estimated 40 000 prostitutes would make their way to South Africa.
This could spell a health disaster in the years following the international event if adequate precautions are not taken; an added burden the southern African country is not prepared to risk.
Reports today indicate that Gordon Brown’s administration has agreed to ship in 42-million condoms to the southern Africa country that is hard hit by Aids.
South African Aids statistics reveal that about 450-million male condoms are distributed every year but, with 16-million sexually active men and one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, there are never enough.
Also an estimated 5,7-million South Africans are living with HIV, about one in every five adults. There are about 1 400 new HIV infections and nearly 1 000 Aids deaths every day in South Africa.
So Zuma asked Britain for more condoms as he anticipates shortages.
“The South Africans have identified themselves the need to get more condoms in place. South Africa specifically asked for British assistance and we are responding to that request,” International Development Minister, Gareth Thomas is quoted saying.
Thomas said supporters “would inevitably spill over into neighbouring African countries” with high HIV rates, which would also need to take precautions.
An estimated 500 000 people are expected travel to South Africa raising fears of a rise in prostitution and sex trafficking from neighboring countries and eastern Europe creating a potential HIV time bomb.