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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 July, 2003, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Condom shortage hitting Aids fight
Condoms protect against HIV
A global shortage of condoms is hampering efforts to stop the spread of Aids, according to experts.

An estimated one billion condoms were provided free of charge to people in the developing world last year.

However, experts attending a major Aids conference in Paris said the figure falls far short of what is needed.

They have also warned that the situation will get even worse unless governments are prepared to cough up more funding.

Billions of condoms

A survey by Population Action International, a US-based pressure group, suggests that eight billion condoms are needed every year in the developing world.

They said this was eight times the number currently supplied. However, they have also predicted that demand for condoms is set to jump over the next few years, rising to 18 billion by the end of the decade.

If condoms are not made available to the most vulnerable groups then we will not be able to control HIV
Aurorita Mendoza,
They told delegates at the conference that the failure to make more condoms available to people in the developing world is harming efforts to tackle the spread of Aids.

They urged governments to provide extra money and to ensure billions of extra condoms are delivered to those countries that most need them.

Aurorita Mendoza, prevention and vulnerability adviser at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) backed that view.

"There is certainly a condom gap," she told BBC News Online. "It is a supply issue.

"But we would estimated that between six and nine billion condoms are distributed annually.

"However, between eight and 24 billion condoms are actually needed."

Ms Mendoza said the problem could be resolved with extra money.

"More government funding is needed and we need more support from the international community," she said.

"We also need to ensure those people who are at risk have access to condoms.

"Condoms are to date the most effective device for preventing HIV.

"If condoms are not made available to the most vulnerable groups then we will not be able to control HIV."

A spokeswoman for Oxfam UK said: "The imperative is to increase funding and with these funds to promote the use of condoms.

"But it is also very important to give people a choice so that we are not saying condoms rather than abstinence or abstinence rather than condoms.

"People should be able to choose."

India fights to promote condoms
15 Jul 03  |  South Asia
Europe urged to boost Aids funds
14 Jul 03  |  Health
Bush Aids plan to include condoms
30 Jan 03  |  Americas
HIV infections top 40 million
26 Nov 02  |  Health

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