In an attempt to put back the focus on condoms and make them more accessible to high risk populations, a global charity has launched a free condom store in Delhi.
Started by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) on Wednesday, this is said to be the first of its kind initiative in India.
The organisation advocates condoms as the best preventive tool against STI and HIV. But it says that the funding and focus on condoms has decreased globally over time, as the focus has now shifted to other diseases and health issues.
"The objective of this initiative is to ensure that amidst funding cuts, there is a dire need to continue intense public awareness to tackle the inhibitions and taboos associated with condoms to encourage the use of condoms," the organisation said in a statement.
People anywhere in the country can call on AHF India's toll free number 1800 102 8102 or send an email to email@example.com, and place orders. The organisation will then ship condoms to their doorsteps.
"We have already received 200 calls and over 190 emails so far from all across the country. This shows that there is a demand but also dearth of condoms in our country," Dr V Sam Prasad, Country Programme Director, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said.
He also said that "It is critical that all the vulnerable individuals and communities have access to condoms, HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support. With the vast majority of the population and vulnerable communities still having difficulty accessing free condoms, this initiative will in many ways enhance governmentâ€™s HIV/AIDS prevention and control programs."
The organisation also proposes to distribute female condoms for free, especially for vulnerable groups such as female sex workers in the country, in the future.
In India, an estimated 2.1 million Indians are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Earlier this month, the Parliament passed a significant Bill that seeks to prevent and control the spread of HIV/AIDS, and to ensure that those living with the disease are not discriminated against.