Condom packaging, Mates 'Play'


Empty carton of 1 Mates 'Play' ribbed and coloured Type B condoms, spermicidally lubricated with Nonoxynol-9, manufactured by Ansell International, USA, and distributed in the UK by Mates Healthcare Ltd, England, c1993 (expiry date November 1996)

Part of a small personal collection of condoms and packaging dating from around the 1990s, this product is an example of the increased use of condoms internationally following the emergence of HIV and AIDS. Previously marketed as contraception, condom products diversified as they began to be targeted at a wider range of people, which led to new flavours, textures, and colours.

These condoms are lubricated with the spermicidal lubricant nonoxynol-9, which was promoted as a microbicide for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. Microbicide is a substance that can be applied to the vagina or rectum in order to reduce the possibility of transmission of sexually transmitted infections. However, studies have shown that nonoxynol-9 actually increased HIV infection rates by causing damage to vaginal and rectal tissue when used frequently, and in 2003 the World Health Organisation recommended that condoms lubricated with the substance should no longer be promoted.


Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Object Number:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment