By Sharanya Gopinathan
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is poised to start a first-of-its-kind free condom store in India. The organisation says that the move will help in a country that has deep-rooted social biases against people suffering from HIV, and also help circumvent the social stigma some people feel when purchasing condoms easily in public. You will be able to place orders online or through the phone, and the condoms will be delivered to your doorstep.
It feels like this move couldn’t have come at a better time. Donald Trump’s January executive order cutting funds to organisations around the world that provide abortions or that even provide information on abortions to women in their advice means that funding for organisations that provide condoms and other options is at a massive low in India.
This affects not only women’s options for effective contraception and population control methods across the world, but could also set back decades worth of work in controlling HIV rates across the world. India currently has 2.1 million people suffering from HIV. That number has been decreasing, partly due to concerted efforts to control its spread by promulgating the use of condoms.
This new condom store will also come at a time where news organisations are wondering what to do with a leaked report that reveals that Donald Trump’s government is set to cut funds from a US State Department that promotes women’s rights all over the world.
The government of India does distribute condoms through it’s health facilities and centres, but reports say that stocks and quality are often quite low. The HIV (Prevention and Control) Bill was also passed by Rajya Sabha in March. This Bill aimed to protect people who suffer from HIV from different kinds of discrimination, and grants them access to healthcare and treatment from the government.