India Launches Program To Distribute Female Condoms to Sex Workers
The Indian government, in collaboration with the National AIDS Control Organization and Hindustan Latex, on Wednesday launched a program to provide female condoms to commercial sex workers nationwide, IANS/India eNews reports. The program will provide 500,000 female condoms by June at a cost of about $4,000, according to an official from the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society. The program, which will be implemented in eight Indian states, is expected to reach about 3,000 sex workers by December 2007 and to later reach 11,000 sex workers. TANSACS on Wednesday said it had begun distributing 60,000 female condoms through six nongovernmental organizations in the cities of Chennai, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Salem, Tiruchirapally and Vellore, IANS/India eNews reports. TANSACS next month is expected to release findings of a study on the acceptability, usage and effectiveness of female condoms. "Most women do not have this right to choose" whether condoms are used during sex, Supriya Sahu, TANSACS project director, said. Sahu added that the program is an "HIV/AIDS prevention tool under a woman's control. For the first time, a woman will have a preventive tool in her own hand." TANSACS also will distribute 800,000 female condoms through self-help groups, according to Sahu. In addition to the TANSACS program, NACO will distribute reduced-cost female condoms to sex workers with the help of community health workers in Andra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Hindustan Latex will sell the condoms, which typically cost $1.12, to health workers at a discounted rate. Health workers will then sell the condoms to sex workers for about 12 cents, IANS/India eNews reports (IANS/India eNews, 3/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.