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Awareness on the rise? Condom shortage hits Bihar

By M I Khan in Patna
Last updated on: November 05, 2009 13:50 IST
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Bihar is facing an acute shortage of condoms meant for free distribution for ensuring birth control and safe sex to fight out the AIDS menace.

Official sources in the Bihar State Aids Control Society said, the state is facing a scarcity of nearly 40 lakh condoms meant for free distribution among people, particularly in rural areas.

BSACS officials told in Patna on Thursday that condom scarcity is an outcome of large-scale free distribution of condoms among the target groups provided from the Central pool.

"We have distributed a record 1.2 crore condoms from April to September this year. But our target of distributing 2.8 crore condoms during 2009-10 is facing shortage," BSACS official Sibi Alex said.

He said that high demand of condoms also indicated that awareness of safe sex and birth control is growing in the state.

Apart from free distribution of condoms, BSACS in tie up with different NGOs, distribute condoms through social marketing at subsidised rates among the target group. About 64 lakh condoms have been distributed so far in this fiscal with a target of distribution of 2.1 crore through social marketing.

Keeping big target of distribution of free condoms and through social marketing among target groups, BSACS had requested Uttar Pradesh state Aids Control Society to provide condoms from its quota if it has extra stocks.  "The BSACS plans to seeks condoms from other states if they have surplus stocks," an official said.

According to official sources, Bihar got only 10 lakh condoms from the Central pool recently and another five lakh are on the way for free distribution. "But it is not going to solve the shortage of condoms, we have to manage adequate stocks for distribution to achieve target," the official added.

Bihar may be put on the top pedestal in the category of low prevalence and highly vulnerable states in connection to HIV/Aids.

State health minister Nand Kishore Yadav said that Bihar has left other states behind in free distribution of condoms in India. The state has distributed 10.1 million condoms in 2007-08. The figure was 8.6 million in 2006-07 and 3.5 million in 2002-03.

Bihar has a population growth rate of 4.1 per cent, almost double the national average of 2.1 per cent.

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M I Khan in Patna