Executive Summary

HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) continue to be among the greatest public health threats worldwide, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Condom use remains an essential intervention to eradicate AIDS, and condom use is now higher than ever. However, free and subsidized condom funding is declining. Research on how to create healthy markets based on willingness to pay for condoms is critically important. This research has three primary aims: (1) willingness of free condom users in five African countries to pay for socially marketed condoms; (2) the relationship between specific population variables and condom brand marketing efforts and willingness to pay; and (3) potential opportunities to improve condom uptake. Nationally representative samples of at least 1200 respondents were collected in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. We collected data on a range of demographic factors, including condom use, sexual behavior, awareness of condom brands, and willingness to pay. We estimated multivariate linear regression models and found that free condom users are overwhelmingly willing to pay for condoms overall (over 90% in Nigeria) with variability by country. Free users were consistently less willing to pay for condoms if they had a positive identification with their free brand in Kenya and Zimbabwe, suggesting that condom branding is a critical strategy. Ability to pay was negatively correlated with willingness, but users who could not obtain free condoms were willing to pay for them in Kenya and Zimbabwe. In a landscape of declining donor funding, this research suggests opportunities to use scarce funds for important efforts such as campaigns to increase demand, branding of condoms, and coordination with commercial condom manufacturers to build a healthy total market approach for the product. Free condoms remain an important HIV/AIDS prevention tool. Building a robust market for paid condoms in SSA is a public health priority.