Birmingham's Commonwealth Games athletes to be handed 150,000 condoms over 12-day event

An estimated 23 condoms will be available to each Commonwealth Games accommodation guest.

A total of 150,000 condoms are to be given out to athletes and entourages at Birmingham's Commonwealth Games this summer.

The organising committee and Birmingham City Council have said they are expecting 6,500 athletes and team officials for the event, which runs from July 28 until August 8.

This would mean 23 condoms could be available to each guest for the duration of the 12-day event.

Commonwealth Games competitors and crews are set to be housed at student halls at the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick as well as at the NEC Hotel Campus.

A city council health and social care overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday (Feb 15) that 50,000 condoms will be provided for each of the three sites.

In answer to a question from Cllr Paul Tilsley (Lib Dem, Sheldon), Dr Karl Beese, the council's commissioning manager for adult public health services, said "it isn't such a big number" given the number of athletes and team members.

Birmingham 2022 mascot, Perry

Dr Beese was, with colleagues, giving updates on the Umbrella Sexual Health Service which is jointly commissioned with Solihull Council.

Dr Beese said: "We have met with the Commonwealth Games organising committee round contraception and the signposting to services and what we have found is predominantly, it's for the athletes and the team entourages where contraception is required.

"There was an expectation of 50,000 condoms across the three Commonwealth Games sites so 150,000 in total.

"So there won't be any issues in terms of supply and we are due to meet in the very near future with Pam Venning - who is the chief medical officer in charge of the Commonwealth Games from that side of it - just to make sure that we can signpost into Umbrella services if need be, or into an Umbrella pharmacy etc.

"So that is all being worked on but I must admit when they say 'can we have 150,000 condoms?' it makes you realise the extent of it."

Condoms are regularly handed out at major sporting events, with 160,000 distributed at last year's Olympics in Tokyo.

But ahead of that event, the International Olympic Committee warned competitors not to break social distancing guidelines, including by having safe sex.

Pam Venning, head of medical for Birmingham 2022, said it was too soon to say whether a similar warning would be made for the Games.

She said: "We are continuing to monitor the situation closely in regard to Covid 19, working with health experts and national authorities, to ensure we all have robust measures in place so that together we can deliver a safe Games.

"The Birmingham 2022 guidance on Covid will be confirmed much closer to the start of the Games in July, as it needs to be based on what the national and international situation is at the time."

In response to a question from the Local Democracy Reporting Service about how the condoms would be paid for, Ms Venning said: "The provision of contraception for athletes and officials is an entirely standard and responsible practice.

"This replicates what has been done by a huge number of major multi-sport events on many occasions in the past.

"We are currently in discussions with a potential sponsor about the provision of contraception."

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said funding for the condoms would not come out of the funding for day-to-day sexual health services run for the city.

They said: "The provision of contraception for athletes and officials is an entirely standard, safe and responsible practice - and replicates what has been done by major multi-sport events on many occasions in the past.

"This is led by the UKHSA [UK Health Security Agency] and the Commonwealth Games organising committee, working with public health teams across the footprint of the Games. This is separate to the regular council-funded sexual health services."