/ 28 November 2007

The fragrant pleasures of coffee

Doctors have long argued about the health effects of coffee, but its reputation seems poised to receive a boost thanks to a flavoured condom that aims to encourage safer sex in Ethiopia.

About 300 000 of the coffee condoms were sold in a week when they were launched in September, according to the United States charity DKT International.

It hopes to tap into Ethiopia’s coffee mania as a means to tackle high rates of HIV in the country, which is said to have invented the drink.

The charity said that with 2,1% of Ethiopians infected with Aids — and more than 7% in the capital, Addis Ababa — the flavoured prophylactic was more than a novelty. “Everybody likes the flavour of coffee,” said a spokesperson.

The condoms are sold in packs of three for about half the price of a cup of coffee in Addis Ababa’s cafés, and much cheaper than most other condom brands.

The dark brown condoms are made to smell like Ethiopia’s popular macchiato, an espresso with a generous amount of cream and sugar.

The product was developed after complaints by some users about the latex scent of plain condoms.

DTK has introduced flavoured condoms in other parts of the world in an attempt to appeal to local tastes. These include condoms scented with the infamously stinky durian fruit in Indonesia and sweetcorn-fragranced condoms in China. — Â