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Love Condoms: India Gets Its First Free Condom Store To Help Combat HIV

India Gets Its First Free Condom Store

Love Condoms: India Gets Its First Free Condom Store To Help Combat HIV

In India 2.1 million people are infected with HIV according to the United Nations, although the rate of infection is falling. Condoms can be bought cheaply but sex workers and other vulnerable groups hesitate to purchase them from stores because of deep-rooted social taboos.

A global charity, The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), has launched a free condom store in India to try to reduce new cases of HIV/AIDS in a country with the world's third highest number. People and organizations will now be able to place orders by phone or email to get a supply delivered to their doorstep.

The government also distributes condoms for free through its health centres but activists say stocks are often unavailable or of poor quality. "The funding for condoms is bad, it's being cut around the world. We were getting desperate requests and it's then we realised India needs its own condom store," said Terri Ford, chief of global advocacy and policy at AHF.

"Condoms are the cheapest and the best way to prevent HIV infection so we were very upset about it (funding cuts),". India's AIDS programme has largely been successful but in 2014 the central government cut its share of funding, leading to a shortage of condoms and anti-retroviral drugs. The government later restored the funding but vulnerable communities continue to be at risk of infection, as well as facing a stigma in a largely conservative society.

Last month parliament passed the HIV/AIDS (Prevention and Control) bill, 15 years after it was introduced in the legislature, to safeguard the rights of sufferers and protect them from discrimination.

India wants to be a global player in the world economy but if we cannot even ensure basic healthcare to the people we can't become one. The above move will help reduce new cases of HIV/AIDS in a country with the world's third highest number.

The campaign has been named 'Love Condoms' and it will be delivering all across India. To place an order one can call on the toll free number 1800 102 8102 or reach them via email at freecondomstoreahf@gmail.com.

With inputs from AFP
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