Free condoms through PDS in Bihar to combat AIDS

December 1st, 2009 - 1:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Dec 1 (IANS) People in Bihar will soon get free condoms at fair price shops. The distribution of free condoms will be made through PDS (public distribution system) shops in the state, official sources said Tuesday.
Bihar State AIDS Control Society (BSACS) has decided to use PDS shops to distribute free condoms in the state. “BSACS plans to distribute condoms through PDS shops to promote their use so that the spread of HIV/AIDS can be prevented,” director of BSACS Ravi Parmar said here.

The aim of distributing free condoms at PDS shops is to check and control people from HIV and AIDS, Parmar told IANS. “We want to create awareness about the use of condoms by putting it on the shelves of PDS shops.”

Last year, BSACS launched a programme under which barbers were given condoms and asked to distribute them to their customers in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Bihar has distributed 1.4 million condoms this year. But the target is to distribute 28 million condoms during 2009-10. The state distributed 10.1 million condoms in 2007-08. The figure was 8.6 million in 2006-07 and 3.5 million in 2002-03.

Officials said most of the condoms were distributed through NGOs. BSACS has tied up with different NGOs and distributes condoms through social marketing at subsidised rates among target groups.

Experts regard Bihar as a highly vulnerable state in connection with HIV/AIDS. The total number of people in Bihar with HIV/AIDS is 24,835.

The condom distribution programme is also expected to aid family planning efforts. Bihar has a population growth rate of 4.1 percent, almost double the national average of 2.1 percent.

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