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China To Distribute Free Condoms To Combat AIDS/HIV

In a massive AIDS/HIV control drive, Chinese authorities have bought 305 million condoms for free distribution at hotels and public entertainment places.

This is the first time the government purchased condoms // using a special fund created for the purpose, the health authorities said on Thursday.

The condoms will be distributed through local Centers of Disease Control (CDC) across the country.

The government signed its first order for condoms with China's largest condom producer, Gaobang Latex Products Manufactory based in south China's tourist city Guilin.

So far, 42 hotels in Guilin have received the government's free offer.

"Before an effective AIDS vaccine comes out, condom is the most effective and economical way to prevent the disease from spreading through sex," said Tao Ran, a member of China Youth HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Fund.

"If people could get a condom as conveniently as buying a cabbage, the AIDS prevention programme could finally change their biases," he said, implicating that at present condom is still hardly accepted by the masses.

Official statistics show that among China's 840,000 people infected with HIV/AIDS, 45 percent contracted it through drug injection, 25 percent through blood transfusions and 30 percent through unsafe sex, a factor that has been rising steadily.

Health experts called for carrying out "100 percent" condom use programmes (CUP) in China.

The country is carrying out CUPs in provinces such as Hubei, Yunnan and Jiangsu and planning to cover other regions like Fujian and Beijing.

Such measures, carrying the slogan "No Condom, No Sex," are designed to ensure condom provision.

But the issues of how to ensure condom quality and reasonable pricing are also obstacles in the campaign, according to Zhao Pengfei, programme officer with the World Health Organization (WHO)'s China office.

Source -(IANS)

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