India Primarily to Promote Condom Use in its HIV Prevention Programs, Health Minister Says
September 5, 2006
India primarily will promote condoms to prevent HIV transmission as part of the government's five-year, $2.5 billion HIV/AIDS initiative, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said recently, Bloomberg News reports. The initiative -- which is funded by the government, companies, aid agencies and not-for-profit groups -- aims to allocate 80% of the "money and focus" to preventing new HIV cases, with condoms being the primary prevention method promoted, Ramadoss said. The government has installed 11,000 condom vending machines in colleges, train stations, gas stations, roadside restaurants and hospitals. According to Ramadoss, the government by the end of 2007 plans to have 100,000 vending machines installed, as well as increase the number of surveillance sites from about 700 to 1,200. He added that the number of centers providing testing, counseling, treatment and prenatal care will increase from 2,875 to 5,000 in two years. "We have spent a whole load of money on awareness," Ramadoss said, adding, "But the actual usage of condoms, that's my problem. That's what we're trying to tackle now." He said about 86% of the country's HIV-positive people contracted the virus through sexual intercourse (Datta, Bloomberg News, 9/1). According to a UNAIDS report released in May, about 5.7 million HIV-positive people live in India. The country's National AIDS Control Organization in a report released in April said there were 72,000 new reported HIV cases in India in 2005, increasing the total number of HIV-positive adults living in the country to about 5.2 million (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/25). About 124,000 people have disclosed to the government that they are HIV-positive, according to Ramadoss (Bloomberg News, 9/1).
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