Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

UK gives South Africa millions of condoms

A woman holding condoms in South Africa
South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV

The UK has donated £1m ($1.5m) to South Africa to buy condoms in a bid to combat HIV and Aids, as the nation builds up to the football World Cup.

South Africa says it needs one billion condoms this year, anticipating extra demand from foreign football fans.

This is more than double the number the government normally distributes, the health minister told the BBC.

More than five million people in South Africa have HIV - a higher number than in any other country.

South Africa is expecting some 450,000 foreigners to attend the World Cup.

Last month, South African medical official Victor Ramathesele told a medical conference organised by football's governing body Fifa that the country was preparing for the influx of visitors.

"There's going to be a large number of people who will be descending on to the country," he said.

"There's going to be a spirit of festivity and... there could be a more than usual demand for measures such as condoms.

"So there are measures in place to ensure that the condom supply is going to be ramped up during this tournament."

Leading by example?

Last week, South African President Jacob Zuma was on a state visit to the UK.

His government has been credited with giving new impetus to the country's fight against HIV and Aids.

The previous administration had denied the link between HIV and Aids, and suggested eating certain vegetables such as beetroot and garlic could act as natural remedies.

However, Aids activists have recently criticised Mr Zuma, who has three wives, for fathering a child out of wedlock.

They said he was not providing a good example.

The UK's Department for International Development (Dfid) announced the donation at a meeting in London attended by officials from several African countries with high levels of HIV.

Dfid said it was "supporting South Africa's leadership and drive to turn the tide on their epidemic".

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