AHF staff and AHF Ambassador Crown Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil (left) deliver condoms and dispensers to Mizoram during WAD 2018
The Mizoram State AIDS Control Society has again requested popular AHF-branded LOVE condoms and condom dispensers from AHF India. The team in Delhi welcomed the request as an advocacy success, because condoms remain largely taboo in Mizoram due to religious beliefs.
“Mizoram is tops among the high HIV prevalent states in India and becomes even more vulnerable to new HIV infections due to religious sanctions on promoting the use of condoms,” said AHF India Country Program Director Dr. V. Sam Prasad. “There is limited access to free condoms—and the government’s free condom programming is discouraged by religious groups.”
Mizoram was the site for the observance of World AIDS Day 2018 in India which kicked off the push for increased access to condoms. Now, only eight months later, the Mizoram government is requesting an additional 500,000 LOVE condoms, along with 300 LOVE kiosks (dispensers) to supply free condoms to the public.
India’s (and the world’s) first openly gay member of a royal family and AHF Ambassador, Crown Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of Rajpipla in Gujarat state was also on hand for WAD 2018 in Mizoram.
“Access to protection from HIV and STIs in the form of condoms is critical if we are to defeat HIV/AIDS both in India and globally,” said Prince Manvendra. “Impactful wins – like government accountability and action – in the fight against the epidemic are paramount to seeing real change and bringing down numbers of new infections. I applaud officials in Mizoram for ensuring the public has access to condoms and hope that other states follow suit!”
“AHF India stands with Mizoram and will donate the requested condoms and dispensers to help halt and reverse the HIV epidemic,” added Dr. Prasad. “We’ll also continue to engage with religious groups to help show the effectiveness and critical need for condoms in helping people to remain healthy.”
As of 2017, India had 2.1 million people living with HIV—the world’s second highest in any country, according to UNAIDS. AHF India Cares has been working to fight against HIV/AIDS in India since 2004 and currently provides free HIV care and treatment to 2,429 patients.