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Condom usage goes up in Mangaluru city limits

  • Published in Mangaluru
Condom usage goes up in Mangaluru city limits
MANGALURU : From the year 200-01 to 2013-14 the condom usage in Mangaluru has doubled from 6.5 lakh pieces to 11 lakh pieces per annum. No wonder DakshinaKannada district has moved from being a red zone for HIV infection a decade back towards 0.25% prevalence, which is half of state's estimated adult HIV prevalence.

According to condom distribution statistics available with Department of Family Welfare from the year 2000-01 show that while 6,52,744 pieces were distributed in Public Health Centres, District Hospitals, the figures reached 11,05,500 in 2013-14.

Dr Sikander Pasha, family welfare officer says the increase is seen due to influx of migrantlabourers and distribution among the truckers community, who are high risk groups. While the use among static population has remained stagnant, the floating population accounts for majority of the use at over 60%,'' he said.

As far as HIV+ cases are concerned, it has come down drastically by more than half from 2007 numbers. If the positive cases were about 1,245 in 2007 about 90 cases being reported per month, including pregnant women, now the cases are averaging less 50 per month, say officials in District AIDS Control office.

Harish A, project manager for Hindu KushtNivaranSangh, which has shifted focus from leprosy to HIV/AIDS prevention says: on an average 40,000 condoms are distributed per year by theSangh among high risk groups which majorly consist of migrant labourers and truckers. This group focuses high risk group in city corporation limits.

We identify a migrant labourer as a peer educator and after training he imparts education amongst the labourers on the mode of usage and looks after distribution. Youngsters are at first hesitant even to touch the packet, let alone use it. After proper education, they overcome reticence,'' he said.

The instances of keeping condoms box in public places like bus stands etc has been reduced since the cases of misuse had increased. When it was available for free it was used as quick fix for leakage problems or as a binder in vehicles by mechanics. Moreover, as it was available free users took more than one and discarded extra ones,'' said Harish. He says the trend among users is to go for 'paid lubricated condoms' which are available at highly subsidised rates at Rs 3 for a pack of five. When it is made available free there is some sort of mental block about its efficacy. When they pay, the tendency is to believe that it will work fine,'' he added.

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