Repeated complaints about the current brand of condoms distributed across campus have forced YUSU to change manufacturers.
Negative feedback, including reports of breakages, from students using the EXS brand, which have been distributed for free across campus by YUSU, and a sharp increase in requests from students for pregnancy tests have compelled the union to switch to market-leader Durex.
Acting YUSU Academic and Welfare Officer Anne-Marie Canning said: “Some students have had problems. We have to respond to the student body and give them what they need. The welfare of students is paramount”
“There has been a definite increase [in requests for pregnancy tests], but it can be attributed to exam stress and late periods,” Canning continued. “I have spoken to our healthcare company (LTC), who have said that they have not had any other problems. But, if they aren’t working for us, we’ll go somewhere else.”
Andy Taylor, Director of LTC, which also manufactures the EXS brand, said that he was unaware of any problems. “We are not aware of any negative feedback,” he said, adding: “If there were reports of breakages, we are legally and morally bound to investigate that further… Our obligation is to look into a legitimate complaint.”
Both EXS and Durex condoms carry the ISO 4074 standard and the kitemark logo. EXS condoms, however, are cheaper than Durex, and offered YUSU much better value-for-money.
“[EXS] are kitemarked, which means that they shouldn’t be bad, but we have to change in line with how students are responding to condoms. Students are more responsive to Durex, though they are very expensive… We are all under budget constraints,” said Canning, who began the process of switching brands as soon as she assumed the Academic and Welfare role following the departure of Grace Fletcher-Hackwood.
“Negative feedback might be the colour of the packet, or how tight is it to wear. The differences in brands are size and shape, but I would refute that there is a difference in the quality of condoms. If it comes down to personal preference, then that is fine,” said Taylor.
Charlie Leyland, former Derwent JCR Welfare Representative and YUSU Academic and Welfare Officer-elect, assured students that their welfare was paramount. “If people are unhappy with [condoms] then YUSU will have to reassess what it’s providing. People should always be comfortable with their chosen contraception and take further precautions if necessary,” she said.
YUSU currently distribute condoms to all the college JCRs, and at certain campus events. Free condoms can also be collected from the YUSU offices, through Nightline, and by email request to the Union.