AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) celebrated its annual International Condoms Day here on Monday in a unique style to raise awareness about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The event themed ‘Always in Fashion’ gave it a sartorial prominence and promoted the idea that condoms were not some alien rubber, but crucial for safety during sex.
A 40-feet inflatable condom-shaped balloon was also installed at Central Park in Connaught Place, on which public was encouraged to sign and endorse condom use.
The AHF also roped in students of Pearl Academy, who dressed mannequins with apparels made of condoms. These condom-clad mannequins were later judged for their dresses and their designers were felicitated.
“Condoms are always in fashion, but they are not always available, affordable or attractive,” Terri Ford, Chief, Global Advocacy and Policy, AHF, said in a statement.
“International Condom day is a fun day to put condoms back in the spotlight. At a time when young women are especially at risk for HIV transmission and pregnancy globally, UNAIDS, USAID and the Global Fund are drastically cutting funding and distribution of free condoms. That is very short-sighted and a very wrong move. Countries around the world are left condom-less – which is a dangerous situation,” he added.
The event in Delhi also kick-started 117 like events worldwide on the same theme, including six in India alone.
“India is set to experience a dynamic transformation by the year 2020 with the ever growing national adult population (15-49 years) where every third person in India is a youth. In about seven years, the median individual in India will be 29 years, very likely a city-dweller, making it the ‘Youngest country in the world’,” V. Sam Prasad, Country Programme Director of AHF, said.
He added that the AHF is distributing free condoms, branded ‘Love Condoms’, in 39 countries.
At the event was also present one of the more famous gays of India, whose popularity led to his becoming the brand ambassador of AHF.
Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, who came out as gay after decades of living a ‘double-life’, talked to IANS about the vulnerability of certain category of people to falling prey to such diseases.
“Men who have sex with men (MSM) are the most vulnerable group. They comprise transgenders and homosexuals mostly, and because of the stigmatized nature of their sexual preference, they are forced to indulge in unsafe sex,” Gohil, Prince of erstwhile princely state of Rajpipla in Gujarat, told IANS.
He also underlined the role of migrating population in contribution to the spread of HIV and other STDs.
“Those who migrate to cities for work leaving their families behind, become susceptible to unsafe sex in absence of a partner. They become more likely to visit prostitutes and in some desperate situation to have unsafe intercourse with people of same sex,” Gohil added.
He also advocated the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, that is imprisonment of anyone indulging in the same-sex sexual activities, which, Gohil said, is used for the abuse of unpriviledged section of the society.