Hyderabad: The state has seen a significant rise in the use of condoms, which in turn has reduced the risk of AIDS among the high risk group like sex-workers and truck drivers. “There has been a 100 percent rise in condom usage in the state for the past four years,” said Dr PL Jayachandra Reddy, joint director of AP State AIDS Control Society (APSACS).
“For 2012-13, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) had supplied over 10.5 crore condoms. For the first five months, about 5.5 crore condoms were distributed free to the people of the high risk group. There are only 5 crore condoms left for the next seven months,” he said. “Last year, the condom stock supplied by the NACO got over before the end of the year and the state had to request NACO and the neighbouring states to donate their surplus condoms,” he added.
At present, Uttar Pradesh tops the country in condom use, followed by West Bengal, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. As per the recent survey conducted by APSACS and NACO, prevalence of HIV among female sex-workers has dropped from 11 per cent in 2008 to seven per cent in 2012. However, the sharpest decline was noted among the homosexual community wherein from 23 percent, HIV prevalence plummeted to 10 percent. Also, sexually transmitted diseases have seen a drastic drop.
“Till about four years ago, the situation was so dismal that lakhs of condoms were lying wasted, having crossed their expiry dates because of no takers. But now, APSACS is struggling to get extra free condoms,” Reddy said. However, the state still has the highest number of people (5 lakh) infected with the HIV virus. At present there are 5 lakh AIDS patients in the state - 2.8 lakh men and 2.2 lakh women.