Ugandan Health Officials To Import 80 Million Condoms To Stem HIV Spread
Uganda plans to import 80 million condoms in 2003 to meet the "rising demand" for the contraceptive in the "AIDS-stricken" nation, according to health officials who spoke yesterday during a three-day conference on HIV/AIDS prevention, the Associated Press reports. Vasta Kibirige, coordinator of the Ministry of Health's condom unit, said that the nation's HIV/AIDS prevention programs and the sales of the condoms will cover the $2.4 million cost of the imported condoms. "The demand for condoms is growing worldwide since they play a central role in HIV prevention, and Uganda is no exception," Dr. Cris Baryomusi, an HIV specialist, said at the conference (Associated Press, 10/28). Uganda's Ministry of Health officials, along with HIV/AIDS advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations, religious organizations and researchers, on Friday also called for commercial sex work to be legalized in order to stem the spread of HIV in Uganda. "STDs will remain rampant among commercial sex workers and continue trickling into society as long as the sex workers operate underground for fear of being arrested," the organizations said. Dr. Fred Kambugu, head of Mulago Hospital's STD clinic, said that scientists estimate that STD treatment of one sex worker can prevent 10,000 people from contracting the disease. Kampala, Uganda, has between 2,500 and 5,000 sex workers, according to Kambugu (New Vision/Africa News, 10/28). The Associated Press reports that Uganda is one of the nations "hardest hit" by HIV/AIDS, with two million HIV-positive citizens (Associated Press, 10/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.