United Nations: A new condom home delivery service in India and the production of billions of extra contraceptives around the world highlight the breakthrough of condoms in helping put a brake on the AIDS pandemic, experts say.An AIDS summit on Friday gave the most explicit UN backing yet to the use of condoms. Negotiators said they had to overcome fierce opposition from the Vatican and conservative Muslim countries to get the final communique to even mention the latex contraceptive.
A similar effort is gathering pace in many countries, especially in Africa which has borne the brunt of the AIDS pandemic that has killed 30 million people since it first appeared 30 years ago.In Kenya, condom demand has risen from eight million per month in 2005 to 20 million per month in 2011, said Esther Murugi Mathenge, the country`s minister of state for special programmes.Cameroon gave out 145 million condoms between 2006 and 2010, said its Health Minister Andre Mama Fouda. "Major efforts have been made to make condoms available. The number of female condoms has increased sixfold between 2006 and 2010."It helps, he said, but Cameroon, with a population of about 19.5 million still has about 560,000 people aged between 15 and 49 carrying the virus.There were 33,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2010 and 50,000 new infections said Fouda. "We now have 305,000 children made orphans because of HIV and AIDS."Tembo at the UNFPA said governments and activists are slowly overcoming religious and social resistance to the use of condoms."It is not just distributing them, you have to make sure people know about them and know how to use them," he said. "Otherwise they are just left to melt in the sun."So the UN Population Fund encourages social workers to get out to markets, pop festivals and sporting events such as last year`s football World Cup in South Africa, to show people how to use prophylactics.The increased use and other efforts by governments and doctors have been generally hailed at the summit, which has set a target of getting drugs to all AIDS sufferers by 2015. Is it enough?"We must face the fact that all these efforts have yet to turn the tide of this epidemic. Three decades on, the rates of new infection still outpace treatment intervention, thereby compelling us to do more," South Africa`s Vice President Kgalema Motlanthe told a UN Security Council debate on the pandemic.Bureau Report
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