More people having unprotected sex has led to increase in HIV rates in South Africa

South Africa's government has decided to distribute flavoured condoms among students to promote safe sex and reduce the risk of contracting HIV.

The initiative comes after the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) warned that South Africans were having sex with different partners, using fewer condoms and becoming less aware about AIDS.

"30% [around 6.4 million] of the world's ARV (antiretroviral) patients are in South Africa," Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said. "We need to inject enthusiasm into the condom campaign, and we are about to start rolling out new types of free, coloured condoms which are also flavoured".

The decline in usage may be because "the standard-issued choice condoms just aren't cool enough", he added.

A 2012 survey conducted by HSRC indicated that 12.2% of South Africans were HIV positive up from 10.8% in 2008.

The survey also showed that condom use had declined, especially in the 15 to 24 age-group.

Overall, 52.9% of the household survey participants said they had never used condoms.

Dr Olive Shisana Shisana, President and CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa stressed the importance of using condoms to prevent sexual transmission of HIV.

The doctor also said women were more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS due to both their biology and societal pressures. Women are also at increased risk of acquiring HIV during pregnancy, as their immune systems are suppressed at this time.

Leickness Simbayi, a researcher on the study, said: "The increases in some risky sexual behaviours are disappointing, as this partly accounts for why there are so many new infections still occurring".

South Africa awarded a $667 million (£400m) two-year contract in 2012 to pharmaceutical firms, including Aspen Pharmacare, Abbott Laboratories and Adcock Ingram, to supply HIV/AIDS medication, according to Reuters.

Despite a government push to spread the treatment of HIV, medical charities warned last year that many clinics were running short of life-saving HIV/AIDs drugs.