India-Based Company to Begin Selling Female Condoms; Government Considering Subsidizing Them for Sex Workers
August 1, 2005
India-based Hindustan Latex on Friday said it will begin selling female condoms in the country next month to help curb the spread of HIV, the Associated Press reports. M. Ayyappan, managing director of Hindustan Latex, said the company initially will import the female condoms from the London factory of Chicago-based Female Health Company and later will begin producing its own condoms. The condoms will sell for about $2.30 each, but the government's National AIDS Control Organization is supporting the product and considering a subsidy to bring the cost to 12 cents per condom for commercial sex workers. A government study in 2004 found that about 15% of India's approximately 5.1 million HIV-positive people are commercial sex workers. Chandrasekhar Gowda, head of an organization teaching STD prevention to commercial sex workers, said, "The female condom will give [a] woman a choice. She will no longer be dependent on the man's decision. But it can be fully successful only if sex workers are able to negotiate the use of condom[s] with their clients" (Srinivasan, Associated Press, 7/29).
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