Condoms Being Returned, Replaced by Brand Names

Questions were raised about the packets' durability and appearance.
Questions were raised about the packets' durability and appearance. (The Washington Post)
By Susan Levine
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 29, 2007

As many as 70,000 of the District government's much-maligned condoms were returned this week by community organizations in advance of the Health Department's distribution of brand-name substitutes.

City officials had agreed that highly publicized complaints about the mustard-yellow packets' durability and appearance damaged their campaign to increase condom use as a front-line offense in the District's fight against HIV/AIDS.

After that decision at a mid-September meeting -- during which officials defended the condoms' safety -- the manufacturer offered to replace all remaining supplies with Trojan, Lifestyles and other products most typically found on drugstore shelves.

In addition to the inventories sent back in the past several days, the department's HIV/AIDS Administration still had 350,000 condoms that were never distributed.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said yesterday that the agency has received 125,000 of the new condoms, with shipments totaling 400,000 more expected in the next two weeks. Deliveries into the community should begin within days, she said.

The Health Department has promised to retool the entire condom distribution program.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company