February 14 Marks Condom Awareness Week: Global Shortage Still Prevalent
Today marks the first day of National Condom Week of Action. Even though consistent condom use reduces the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission by 85 to 100 percent, men aged 15 to 59 in sub-Saharan African receive, on average, less than five condoms per year. According to UNAIDS, women now comprise 50 percent of those who have contracted the HIV virus. In Africa, where women are often not in a position to ask sexual partners to use condoms or other contraceptives, that figure is close to 60 percent.
Donor countries met only 25 percent of the global need for contraceptives in 2002, which include condoms, reports the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Due to inadequate aid efforts by the United States and other donor countries, acute shortages of condoms have been contributing the rapid rise in HIV/AIDS cases in Africa and other parts of the developing world. While advocating for abstinence-only HIV/AIDS prevention policies instead of a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention strategy, the Bush administration has withdrawn $34 million annually since July 2002 for the UNFPA, an international organization that has been providing contraceptives and reproductive health services to the poorest people in the developing world that are at the highest risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Although the Bush Administration has stated that it supports the "ABC" HIV prevention model, which stands for abstinence, be faithful and use condoms, the Administrationís global AIDS policy restricts one-third of its global HIV/AIDS prevention funding for abstinence-only promotion programs.