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Shhhh...not anymore!

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launches a campaign Condom Bindas Bol! in association with USAID

PHOTO: K. MURALI

FOR A CAUSE Palash Sen

To remove any perceived embarrassment associated with buying, using and selling condoms, the United States Agency For International Development (USAID) with support from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched a new campaign, Condom Bindas Bol! The aim of the campaign is to increase the use of condoms for avoiding unwanted pregnancies and for preventing sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.

The campaign portrays that asking for condoms is being responsible and caring. And it is no big deal to buy them. It is targeted at men aged 20-29 years and has been launched simultaneously in eight states across northern India, namely Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand. It is a comprehensive six-month campaign and involves advertising, celebrity endorsements, public relations and various events.

Addressing the issuec

Many television stars and other celebrities are endorsing key messages to make it more appealing. Singer Palash Sen of the popular band Euphoria was recently shooting for the campaign. On the increasing trend of celebrities endorsing social issues Palash remarked, "If you are known and educated, people take you seriously. Being a doctor myself and a citizen who feels strongly towards this issue I am just voicing my concern."

Asked about his association with the campaign he said, "Talking about sex is a taboo in our country. We have already crossed a billion, and HIV/AIDS is almost an epidemic now. It is time to address these issues. Youngsters should be sensitised about sex and related issues by their parents themselves. They should be educated about the dangers of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. Buying condoms should be as normal as buying any other thing, After all, they save you from many problems."

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