Times of India
02 December 2010
By Shimona Kanwar
Chandigarh Survey Finds Sewer Line Near BPOs Clogged With Condoms
Two NGOs conducting a safe sex survey here recently stumbled upon startling findings on Condom use at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park that houses several BPOs.
NGO volunteers drawn from Voice and Society for Service to Voluntary Agencies (Sosva) were on an assignment commissioned by the State AIDS Control Society (SACS) following National AIDS Control Authority (Naco) directives when they received a clutch of complaints on used condoms blocking local sewer lines.
Originally tasked to find out the exposure of young BPO workers to the danger of AIDS from unprotected sex, the NGO workers decided to take a closer look at the probelm. Volunteers recalled how they got into the sewers and actually discovered the lines jammed by bloated, used condoms.
These blockages were found in a sewer near a building that housed most of the BPOs. "We found that this line was blocked and condoms obstructed the flow," recalled former SACS deputy director, Vinod Kumar, under whom the project had been launched.
Around 2006, when the survey began, there were about 40 BPOs in the building. Near this structure, there was a washroom and condoms were found there too, Kumar added.
Sosva realised that they had come up with an encouraging finding–the young and educated youths, such as are usually found working with BPOs, are highly aware of safe sex practices. Moreover, a survey found that they preferred to buy their own rubber instead of surreptitiously pulling them out of vending machines. Flavoured varieties were a rage.
Close to 15,000 men and women work for BPOs at the technology park here. "Most respondents to our survey said they were wary of using Condom vending machines and preferred condoms with flavours of their choice which may not be available in these machines, said S K Verma, member director of Sosva. It became clear that Condom use is high among the literate migrants, mostly young men and women, who work for BPOs, said Vanita Gupta, of the SACS Chandigarh UT unit said.
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