A day after reports said the minister spoke against promoting condoms for preventing the spread of AIDS, an official statement from Harsh Vardhan said he was "disappointed" over the way his statement was "distorted" by a section of the media.
"Through misleading headlines, an impression is sought to be created that I have misgivings about the efficacy of condoms or that I have a moral problem with condoms," Harsh Vardhan said in the statement.
The minister said the stand taken by him on being loyal to one's partner has been adopted by several countries in their fight against AIDS.
"For the past two decades, I have been stressing the need for safe sex using a combination of condoms and discipline which is in line with the Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom (ABC) line of UNAIDS which has yielded great success in Uganda and now forms part of the anti-AIDS campaigns of several countries," he said.
The New York Times had quoted the minister as saying that he would like to see a change in the way that the government promotes awareness about AIDS and HIV, with more emphasis on "promoting the integrity of the sexual relationship between husband and wife", which he said was "part of our culture".
"The thrust of the AIDS campaign should not only be on the use of condoms. This sends the wrong message that you can have any kind of illicit sexual relationship, but as long as you're using a condom, it's fine," the minister was quoted as saying.