01 December 2010
By Somita Pal
Maharashtra District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) plans to increase its distribution of free condoms in the city, after seeing a rise in number of users in the city. MDAC in association with NACO had placed Condom vending machines at strategic public places.
The free distribution was planned to encourage the use of condoms in lower income groups.
According to the data available with MDACS, Condom distribution has gone up to 80 lakhs in last 10 months. "When we started the initiative in 2005, 24 lakh condoms were distributed. It is good that people are opting for safe sex. The rise in numbers indicates that we are successful in spreading awareness and thwarting the spread of the HIV infection," said Dr SS Kudalkar, Project Director of MDACS.
The MDACS figures show that 96% of these free condoms were used in the red light areas in the city. "The increase in numbers of Condom users is a very good sign, this will bring down HIV infection in high risk groups (includes female sex workers/bar girls, men having sex with men, migrant population and truck drivers). We have found that the loyal costumers prefer to not use of Condom.
New entrants in the flesh business too don't use condoms. We will be dealing with this issue in coming days. We also plan to keep free condoms at pan beedi shops in red light areas in the city," said Kudlakar.
The city has overall seen a dip in AIDS cases. If 5,420 AIDS cases were registered in 2007, there were only 2,942 cases in 2008 and 1,308 cases in 2009. "So far this year, we have registered 966 cases," said Dr Kudalkar.
However, despite the drop in the number of cases MDACS findings also reveal that the 15-25 age group is more affected as compared to others. Youth is vulnerable because of lack of awareness and indulgence in risky behaviour including unprotected sex which is responsible for increased numbers.
Friday, Feb 24th
Last update:05:44:44 AM IST