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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Policymakers fret as condom use drops 40% in 5 years

In a worrying trend, condom use in India has dropped by 38% in six years — from 2.6 crore in 2006-07 to 1.6 crore in 2010-11. Health ministry data shows that 21 of the 28 states, including Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have registered a decline in the use of this contraceptive, setting off alarms among policymakers.

Health experts said with India's population is tipped to overtake China's by 2025, this sharp drop is a cause for concern. With more than 1.2 billion people, India accounts for 17.5% — every sixth person in the world is an Indian — of global population. China is the only country with a larger population, with 1.35 billion people. However, the UN has estimated that the Indian population grew at an annual rate of 1.43% between 2005 and 2010, while in comparison China registered a much lower annual growth rate of 0.7%.

The data relates to condoms distributed free of charge by the government and doesn't reflect a rise in the sale of condoms produced by private companies.

Some of the sharpest declines are in Chhattisgarh — from 6.9 lakh condoms used in 2006-07 to 1.4 lakh in 2010-11; Karnataka (from 3.06 lakh to 2.06 lakh) and Kerala (from 1.5 lakh to 75,808) in the six-year period. Delhi has registered a decline from 1.71 lakh to 90,227, while condom users in Haryana have dropped from 3.74 lakh to 2.05 lakh.

United Nations Family Planning Association's (UNFPA) India president Sujatha Natarajan said the decline could be because of a host of reasons such as preference for permanent methods of contraception and dip in social marketing and distribution of condom. "In 2006-07, the investments in media campaigns for use of condoms were very high because it was related to combating HIV-AIDS. The investments have subsequently come down," she said, adding that the people had a much wider basket of choices in contraception.

Source: TOI

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