Condom sales up by five per cent: NACO

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New Delhi, Nov 14 (UNI) The 'condom' ringtone being used in an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign has helped kick up condoms sales by about five per cent in the past six months.

Stating this, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) chief K Sujatha Rao said the catchy ringtone with a touch of humour has been enjoying huge popularity and has been successful in bringing out bedroom issues into the public domain.

''The ad has connected well with people who felt embarrassed to talk about condoms,'' she said.

There has been a rise in sales of condoms by 8.55 crore in the past six months, and partly the campaign has been responsible for the surge in sales, she said.

''We are now targetting the three billion mark, from today's figures of 1.7 billion,'' she added.

She said a lack of social marketing network was a hurdle in promoting condom use as these being non-profit oriented did not attract many entrepreneurs.

Stating that the plan was now to increase the number of outlets from present 600 to three million, she however admitted putting condom vending in full public view has not yielded the desired results. ''No one wants to be seen buying a condom. The strategy has misfired. So now we have decided to put these up in corners in public toilets etc.'' However, the NACO chief pointed out that commercial sex workers admit that men were willing to pay more for sex without condoms.

The campaign, which has included television and radio advertisements, was created by the BBC World Service Trust in association with NACO.

Launching another edition of the ad campaign two weeks ahead of the World AIDS Day, Yvonne MacPherson, country Director of the Trust said nearly five lakh requests to download the ringtone in India have been received and another 160,000 people mainly form outside India, have downloaded the ringtone from the website: www.condomcondom.org.

The new ad which features a dog called Condom, aims to encourage people to shed their inhibitions and start talking about condoms, she said.

The campaign's theme Jo Samjha Wohi Sikander (the one who understands is a winner) tries to reinforce the message that those who use condoms are winners in life, Ms Sujatha rao said.

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