With an estimated 21 lakh people living with HIV, India has the third-highest number of HIV cases in the world. One of the many reasons for its widespread presence is its transmission through unprotected sexual intercourse. Condoms can be bought cheaply and are also distributed free at government-run health Centres but activists say stocks are often quite low or of poor quality.
However, in a one of its kind initiative AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a global non-profit organisation has launched a free condom store that aims to minimise the new cases of HIV/AIDS. Under this new scheme, organisations and individuals could place orders by phone or email to get a supply delivered to their doorstep. The organisation says that the move will help in a country that has deep-rooted social biases against people suffering from HIV, and also help circumvent the social stigma some people feel when purchasing condoms easily in public.
‘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,’ Terri Ford, chief of global advocacy and policy at AHF, told AFP.
Expressing her frustration over red-tapism in India, she said,” We feel very frustrated. We work with governments all over the world but there’s nothing like Indian bureaucracy.”
“Imagine, one bill was on the table for 15 years, slow bureaucracy is actually killing people. So many people are dying because of lack of timely testing and treatment,” Ford added.