On April 26, 2017, global charity AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) created quite a buzz by launching a free condom store in India with the intent to reduce new cases of HIV/AIDS and prevent the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).
Dr. V Sam Prasad, AHF Country Programme Director for India, said, “the store is actually just an email address through which NGOs working in related fields can avail of this service.” Love Condoms, as they are called, will be delivered to your doorstep. While the government also distributes condoms for free via its health centers, activists say that very often the quality of the condoms are poor or the stock gets depleted faster than they are replenished.
Growd gathered at the launch of the on-call condom service
When asked what the response to the launch has been like, Dr. Prasad said, “OH MY GOD, the response has been overwhelming. We launched on April 26, and in just three days we have got over 250 calls, 300 mails and we have been inundated actually. Out toll free numbers haven’t stopped ringing. We were trending for the longest time on twitter the day we launched. From Kanyakumari to Kashmir; we are getting calls from every part of the country.”
Speaking further on what they intend to do over the course of the next few months, he said, “We are looking at reaching the grassroots level, penetrate into the rural and interior areas. Those are also are target areas and are important for us. We have been getting calls from various NGO’s working in remote places asking for the packets to be sent to them.”
AHF has tied up with various NGOs and is continuing to look for newer associations in order to reach out to a larger section of people. “With the launch of this service we have realised that there is a severe gap that exists between the supply and demand of condoms in the country. This service also offers people an anonymity, which they are readily embracing,’ he said.
“The use of condoms is the cheapest and one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of the HIV infection. This for us is an advocacy tool and we are hopeful of making an impact with this campaign. We have around 1.5 million condoms in stock with us right now and are targeting to get another 5 million for the year.”
Given that talking about sex, protection, and condoms is still taboo in our country AHF sure is breaking ground here by making condoms so readily accessible and available.
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