Though condom use in the country has been promoted since the 1960s under the National Family Planning Programme for prevention of unwanted pregnancies, its promotion received major impetus and significance with the outbreak of HIV. With nearly 86 percent HIV transmission through unsafe sex in the country, NACO advocates and promotes condom use as a safe sex practice for prevention of STI/RTI and HIV, in addition to protection from unwanted pregnancy.

Condom promotion under NACP-I & II led to an increase in the awareness about its consistent use in HIV/AIDS prevention. The availability of free supply, subsidised and commercial brands of condoms was also increased during these years. However, this did not have a significant impact on its use. Given the significant role of condoms in the prevention of STI/HIV infections, NACO is faced with the challenge of promoting its use for controlling the epidemic. In this direction, apart from stepping up condom advocacy, NACO has launched new management and distribution initiatives.

Social Marketing

In view of the stagnant growth in condom use, NACO has devised a national level social marketing plan in partnership with HLFPPT, a not-for-profit organisation promoted by Hindustan Latex Limited, a Government of India undertaking. The plan is promoted and coordinated by Technical Support Group comprising experts at the state level.

The TSG implements social marketing programmes through State Medical Officers (SMOs). Under the programme, the states are required to implement an IT-enabled condom tracking system, and manage a generic communications campaign for condom promotion. The programme also requires states to reduce wastage of ‘free supply’ condoms, set up appropriate storage facilities, ensure quality checks, re-examine the promotional subsidy on socially marketed condoms, etc. Social marketing brand “Nirodh Deluxe” is also planned to be repackaged and repositioned to boost condom use.