'Condom use drops in TN among high risk groups'

Published: January 23, 2012

CHENNAI: Unprotected sex may be on the rise as condom usage is going down, say Tamil Nadu officers involved in AIDS awareness campaigns in the state. According to sources in the Tamil Nadu State Aids Control Society (TANSAC), usage of condoms in the high risk groups has of late dropped by 20 %.

Two years ago, Tamil Nadu boasted of over 85% usage of condoms. But, recent statistics show that condom usage has dropped to 65%.

"The percentage decrease is based on statistics of 2010," said a TANSAC officer, not willing to be named. "But it is not merely the number of people using it that has dropped. The number of instances of its usage too has reduced. Previously, individuals in these groups used condoms on at least eight out of 10 occasions. But now this has decreased to six times out of 10."

High risk groups include commercial sex workers, migrant workers, truckers, men who have sex with men (MSM) and injecting drug users. The officer observed that the decrease in usage may be due to a decrease in the intensity of campaign or increase in casual sex or both. "There is a definite increase in the instances of casual unprotected sex among youngsters up to the age of 35 today," the officer added.

However, sources in National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) disputed the claim, setting the stage for a hot centre-state debate on the issue. "We shall be releasing our latest statistics soon," said a senior NACO officer on condition of anonymity. "Although we haven’t fully analysed it yet, I do not think it would be entirely correct to say that condom usage is going down."

But statistics furnished by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy show that condom manufacture reached an all-time low in 2011. According to the statistics furnished upto November 2011, condom production has gone down by nearly 30% since 2006.

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