Low-cost condoms key to preventing AIDS worldwide

July 19, 2013 at 1:53 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 19 (UPI) -- An AIDS expert said at a conference in Malaysia it is imperative to switch approaches to a public health perspective of prevention to stem the HIV spread.

Andrew Tan, president of myPlus -- Malaysian Positive Network -- said prevention was crucial to fighting the spread of the HIV/AIDS.

"Prevention is ultimately the key to reversing this tide that has touched many individuals, families and communities. This is why it is imperative to switch approaches ... to a public health perspective," Tan told The Seventh International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. "Then we will see the beginning of the end of stigma and discrimination, both key barriers to implementing effective HIV prevention and treatment programs."

In 2012, DKT International, a provider of contraceptives and family planning services in the developing world via social marketing, provided 600 million condoms, or more than 1.5 million condoms per day, in 19 developing countries.

In the DKT programs, condoms are made widely available and easily affordable. Their use is encouraged via social marketing on the Internet, in concerts, on outdoor billboards and at festivals -- any channel that reaches condom users.

DKT's 2012 sale and distribution of condoms and other contraceptives provided 25 million couple years of protection -- the amount of contraceptive/safe sex protection needed for one couple over one year -- at the low cost of $2.00 per couple.

For example, when DKT Brazil began in 1991, the total male condom market in Brazil was less than 50 million pieces annually. Now the commercial condom market is 10 times larger, as DKT provides affordable condoms to low-income customers and also supports local non-governmental organizations in Brazil with information about AIDS/HIV prevention. Last year, DKT sold 130 million condoms in Brazil, DKT officials said.

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