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Condom usage in Asia - 02/10/2013

Condom Usage in Asia Asia is one region in the world with a high population. China and India are on top of the list as nations with the biggest population. Prostitution is also rampant in Asia despite the fact that it is not permitted by governments. Commercial sex workers continue to exist in the red light districts and they have been identified as among the top sources of STDs. Countries in Asia where prostitution is practiced although illegal include Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam, among others. In these nations, condoms are widely used and encouraged particularly among people using commercial sex workers. Thailand Thailand has long been implementing a 100% Condom Program, a Paradigm for Prevention together with Cambodia, China, Philippines, Myanmar, Mongolia and Laos. Since the early part of the 1990’s, the country has made a remarkable success in enforcing this program that promotes 100 percent condom use for every encounter with a commercial sex worker (CSW). The primary goal is to curb the spread of HIV and other STDs. Through this outreach program, the CSWs were also encouraged to have themselves tested for STD and treated if found positive. They are then given as many supplies of condoms as needed to save them from buying the contraceptive. Also part of the Thai government’s way of regulating prostitution was to impose fines on commercial establishments particularly the so-called brothels that do not require male customers to use condoms. This resulted in an increase of condom use from 15% to more than 90%. The number of men acquiring STDs also declined owing to this program. Philippines In the Philippines, cases of STDs and HIV have been on the rise in the recent months. Latest statistics showed that in July 2012 alone, 278 new HIV cases were recorded bringing the total to 1,878 in the first seven months of the year. Those found positive were overseas Filipino workers who acquired the virus through sexual encounters and drug users who got infected through the use of tainted needles. Nonetheless, the Health Department continues to encourage the use of condoms as a way to control the spread of HIV and AIDS. For this year 2013, the department proposed a budget of more than $1 billion part of which will be utilized to purchase condoms to be given out to local residents in remote areas. India In India, a study has found that condom use among unmarried couples is quite low. Among those who engage in pre-marital sex, only 7 percent of women and 27 percent of young men claimed to be using condoms. Limited access to reproductive health services and the social stigma related to buying condoms from pharmacies and other providers were among the reasons cited in the low condom usage in the country. People living in the rural areas normally have little or no knowledge about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. Many continue to live in a conservative way and are not open to discussing sex or health-related concerns

 

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