India now has a free condom store, courtesy a global non-government organisation (NGO), through which other NGOs working in the field for reduction in HIV and AIDS infections can source condoms. The infection can not only be fatal with its own symptoms, but can also lead to depression and eventually suicide.
India has the third-largest HIV epidemic in the world, with the UNAIDS Gap Report of 2016 saying 21 lakh — or 2.1 million — people live with the infection in the country at the time of the report being compiled. Under these circumstances, a free condom store could be just what the doctor ordered for the sector.
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The free condom store, started by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHC), is not a brick-and-mortar store. AHC Country Programme Director for India, Dr V Sam Prasad, explained to IBTimes India: "The store, which was opened on April 26, is actually an email address through which some NGOs working in related fields can avail of the service."
The condoms will be sent to NGOs working in the fild of HIV and AIDS infections among various communities — including homosexuals — as well as reproductive child health, Prasad said, adding: "The NGOs will have to send in an email request for the condoms, and we will deliver it to them in five working days."
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The idea is to support these NGOs in trying to close the gap between supply and demand of condoms, Prasad told IBT. "Condoms play an important role in halting the spread of infections like HIV," he said.
AHC, he explained, has been working in the field of HIV and AIDS for years now, and has spread its sphere of influence to 39 countries. In India, it is headquartered in Delhi, but also works in Panvel in Navi Mumbai.