Sir Richard’s Condom Company aims to improve contraceptive usage worldwide

Buy a condom, save the world.

It may be an unlikely solution to the world’s problems, but the concept has been embraced by Sir Richard’s Condom Company.

For every condom purchased in the United States, the company donates one to Haiti through a program called Partners in Health.

“Co-founder Mathew Gerson identified the opportunity to create a product that people could naturally gravitate to and identify with,” said Mia Herron, director of marketing and communications for Sir Richard’s.

“It’s a lifestyle solution, not a clinical, emotionless contraceptive device.”

The condoms, which cost $12.99 for a 12-pack and $5.99 for a three-pack, are available through the company’s online store and at Whole Foods Markets nationwide, including the branch in Chapel Hill.
“We have often thought of Whole Foods as a popular place to ‘shop for a date,’” Herron said in an email.

Wendy Geise, marketing team leader for the Whole Foods branch in Chapel Hill, said products that serve a dual purpose, such as Sir Richard’s condoms, typically are popular with consumers.

Sir Richard’s goal is to bridge the worldwide gap in contraceptive availability and usage, according to the company’s website.

Diana Sanchez, a sexuality counselor at UNC Campus Health Services, said approximately 18 billion condoms will be needed in developing countries in 2015.

“However, it’s important to remember that providing condoms is just one aspect of condom use,” Sanchez said.

There are several challenges associated with condom use in the developing world, including the complex gender and cultural issues that affect the social acceptance of condoms and the importance of providing both male and female condoms worldwide, she said.

Sexuality counselor Meredith Kamradt agreed that condom provision was just the first step to solving the problem.

“Condoms are great at prevention, but they’re not the only thing available for contraception,” Kamradt said.

“Provision does increase usage sometimes, but we need to do more and provide more choices for women.”

Sir Richard’s launched its first envoy program this summer, which intends to use college students as representatives for the company and its mission.

“Each envoy’s experience will be unique; they will complete ‘assignments’ tailored to their social and on-campus involvement,” Herron said.

Assignments could be anything from bringing Sir Richard’s to on-campus events to hosting screenings of “sex-positive films,” she said.

Sir Richard’s has received more than 200 applications so far, and a few UNC students said they were interested in the position, including sophomore Erin Schaberg.

Others were more skeptical.

“I don’t like the concept of consumerism solving all of our problems,” freshman Ahmad Saad said.

Senior Burton Peebles agreed, but said he understood the appeal of serving as an envoy.

“I just think there are more direct ways to even just spark up conversation as you’re preparing to enjoy your night,” Peebles said.

Contact the State & National Editor at state@dailytarheel.com.

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