Condom ‘quality’ makes HIV drive flaccid

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 01 Desember 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: At a time when the HIV campaign is steering towards 'zero new infection', its prevention among high-risk groups in the city hangs between bad quality of condoms and complete unavailability of the same. Anti-HIV crusaders fear that substandard quality of free condoms alone can push up HIV prevalence.

Over the last few months, cash-strapped NGOs and community-based organisations (CBO) have raised the issue of inferior quality condoms with government agencies.

A Malad-based CBO has often written to National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), that inferior quality of condoms has rendered its distribution among transgenders useless. "Our workers are ridiculed for distributing condoms, which lack proper lubrication," said Gauri Sawant of the CBO.

Quality assumes importance in Mumbai which has nearly 2.50lakh people in the high-risk zone and vulnerable to contract the infection. "Condom distribution is key to curbing infection among men having sex with men and female sex workers," said Ashok Row Kavi founder of Humsafar Trust. "Super-lubricated condoms are not that useful. We must provide regular condoms with extra lubrication," he said.

While NGOs are supposed to get 80% of condom supply from NACO, they are expected to forge ties with manufacturers to arrange for the remaining 20%. NGOs say due to payment issues they hardly manage to get private firms interested in supplying them.

For NGOs working with female sex workers, it becomes a dual challenge. "It takes a lot of persuasion for a sex worker to convince a client to use a condom. The least NACO can ensure is to provide good quality condoms," said a CBO working with female sex workers.

NACO refused knowledge of quality concerns. "There have been problems with supply, which will be streamlined soon. But we haven't been told of quality issues," said a senior official. AIDS Day,NACO,HIV,condoms,aids

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