Indian HIV/AIDS Groups Considering Installing Condom Vending Machines To Increase Use, Combat Stigma
India's National AIDS Control Organisation in conjunction with other HIV/AIDS groups is considering installing condom vending machines nationwide to address the stigma surrounding condoms and increase their use, DNA Sunday reports. The stigma associated with condoms has negatively affected efforts to curb the spread of HIV, and NACO and other groups have been considering ways to evade such stigma. "Males, irrespective of whether they are from the upper socioeconomic strata or from the slums, never buy condoms from medical stores close to their homes," Tushar Deshmukh, senior manager for Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust, said. He added, "And when they do, it is in a hush-hush manner. The stigma attached with condoms is so steeped in [the] Indian male mind that the word is taboo in family conversations."
According to DNA Sunday, the stigma surrounding condoms also has led to the production and sale of low-quality condoms. "The spurious brands are sold cheap as their thrust on quality is less," Deshmukh said, adding, "As a result, the condoms rupture or get torn in use, which in turn negates the purpose of using it." According to Deshmukh, condom vending machines would provide "24-hour accessibility to the contraceptives and remove the stigma attached to condoms" because people can "buy without being embarrassed about talking about it publicly" (Sarngan, DNA Sunday, 3/9).