Awareness drive on condom use

Kathmandu, October 18:

The 14th National Condom Day was marked today with a view to educating people about the importance of condom use for ensuring birth intervals and preventing spread of HIV/AIDS.

People from different walks of life participated in the function organised jointly by National Center for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC), HIV/AIDS and STD Control Board and Nepal Red Cross Society to observe the day.

Calling on the people to promote condom use, a rally started from Bhrikuti Mandap and converged into a cultural programme at the same place after passing through Bagbazaar and Putalisadak.

Speaking at a prgramme organised to mark the day, Dr Sharad Raj Onta, chief executive of HIV/AIDS and STD Control Board, said majority of people still do not use condoms for safe sex.

He stressed the need of collective effort from all authorities concerned to help increase condom use not just as a contraceptive, but also as a means to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Dr Padam Bahadur Chand, director NCASC said, although the government distributed 16.7 million condoms free of cost to people last year, it yielded no result.

As women are forced to have sex without condom, he said, female condoms should be promoted so as to protect them.

According to Nepal Demographic Health Survey- 2006, the current population increase rate in the country is 2.16 per cent, but contraceptive use among adolescents is as low as 14 per cent. It also says that 21 per cent of adolescent girls aged 15-19 years are mothers or pregnant.

The day has been celebrated for the last 14 years on the first Saturday after the Kojagrat Purnima. The day is organised across the country immediately after Dashain so that many migrants, who return home from abroad to celebrate the festival, could be reached out with the message on the importance of condom use.

According to NCASC, about 70,000 people in the country are infected with HIV.

Meanwhile, RSS reported that a motorcycle-rally was organised today in Bhaktapur and Madhyapur Thimi to observe the day.

District AIDS Coordination Committee organised the rally that began from Dudhpati before making rounds through Nikosera, Old Thimi, Barbahabazaar, Balkumari, Sakhwa Chok, Sallaghari, Suryabinayek and Toumadi.

Organisations such as Nepal Red Cross Society, Prerana, CAC Nepal, Suruwat, Siddhi Memorial Foundation, Nepal Youth Society and others took part in the rally.