India’s NACO Likely To Support Effort To Set Up Condom Vending Machines at Railway Stations Across Country
Advocates are calling on India's National AIDS Control Organization to support an effort to set up condom vending machines at railway stations across India, the Hindustan Times reports. NACO is expected initially to lobby for the implementation of the machines at urban centers and large railways if spaces are provided by Indian Railways.
According to the Times, NACO has been urged to lobby for the proposal on behalf of the railways' efforts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness throughout the country. One of the efforts includes the launch of the Red Ribbon Express (Jha, Hindustan Times, 4/14). The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, assisted by UNICEF, launched the Red Ribbon Express in 2007. The nationwide train trip is expected to reach 60,000 rural villages nationwide over the course of one year to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among youth (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/7/07).
The Ministry of Railways also granted a 50% discount on train fares to passengers living with HIV/AIDS for treatment at certain antiretroviral therapy centers, the Times reports. Thirty-five counseling and testing centers are open and providing access to antiretrovirals. Indian Railways in 2005 reported 5,478 HIV cases, 800 of which had begun antiretroviral therapy (Hindustan Times, 4/14).