New Delhi, India, February 13, 2018:  AHF – AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest global AIDS organization operating in 39 countries, celebrates 10thedition of International Condom Day (ICD) on 13th Feb, 2018, a day before the Valentine’s day with this year’s theme being “ALWAYS IN FASHION”.

The idea is to create awareness around prevention of HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancies through consistent use of CONDOMS.  ICD promotes SAFER SEX AWARENESS in a Fun and Creative way while encouraging people to use CONDOMS. With 36.7 million people Living with HIV and Sexually transmitted Infections on the rise around the world, creating awareness and educating people has become more important than ever.

Condom messaging is vital  in our times as there is an ever-changing trend of fashion as well as sexual quests even in our society. Moving from traditional sexual activities we are in an era of chemsex and bare backing becoming fashion statement even in rural communities of india.

The theme “ALWAYS IN FASHION” – denotes that “Fashion may come and go but condoms are ever to stay” pressing on the need for sustained promotion of condoms in our society. The THEME “ALWAYS IN FASHION” was represented by cutouts of “red lipstick”, “red boots” and “aviator –  sun glasses” combined with condoms – as selfie booths enticing the youth to pose in front of it for taking selfies and sharing them on social media.

With this year’s theme, a public event was organized in Central Park, New Delhi today. A 40 feet inflatable Condom was installed at Central Park on which public was encouraged to sign and endorse usage of Condoms.  The event also witnessed HIV testing camps, band performances, flash mobs, flash ramp walks by students to support the cause. There was an extensive display of garments, designs, accessories created with Condoms by budding fashion designers from Fashion Designing Department, Asian School of Media Studies. The best selected designs were awarded and were put up for public viewing in the “Condom Fashion Gallery”.

The event also witnessed presence of CISF battalion and MPs supporting the cause of removing the stigma associated with condoms in India.

Mr. Oscar Fernandes, Member of Parliament said, “Condom awareness among the masses is important, especially for the younger generation. We need to remind them that correct and consistent use of condom is the safest and the most effective way to prevent HIV and STIs. There are several myths around condom and its usage, therefore, it is our responsibility to provide access to right information and ensure availability of condoms across the country. I commend the work done by AIDS Healthcare Foundation in complementing the efforts of the government in prevention and care of HIV”

During the event, AHF also unveiled its 2018 International Condom Day theme song, ‘Always in Fashion,’ (songa parody (lyrics) of Ed Sheeran latest hit, “Shape of you” to pump up enthusiasm at ICD events across the globe.

“STIGMA on Condoms is very high in India, even today, often blaming it on Cultural and Religious sentiments and the myth that – “popularizing Condoms in turn increases promiscuity in the general population”. But the reality is that discussions and mass media awareness campaigns on Condoms increase RISK PERCEPTION among masses and emphasize that CONDOMS are the best protection tool available for prevention of STIs, HIV and unwanted pregnancies. “The onus is on all of ‘US’ – the larger society’ to collectively protect the future generation / today’s youth and make sure we have a healthy and productive population to run the country. “Condoms are an integral part of our health system and it needs to stay that way” – remarked, Dr. V. Sam Prasad; Country Program Director, AHF India. This year’s ICD is a clarion call for policy makers to adopt robust strategies for promoting condom use among the population of India” he added.

“Condoms are under attack in the realm of global public health with governments and international agencies slashing funds,” said Terri Ford, AHF Chief of Global Policy, Advocacy & Marketing. “This will most likely lead to more infections worldwide — but thankfully, International Condom Day is a way to reinvigorate the message that condoms are a fun and fashionable way to protect oneself and one’s partner while reinforcing the tenet that condoms should be available for free to anyone who needs them.”, she added.

Dr. Kirit Premjibhai Solanki, Member of Parliament said, “International Condom Day holds a lot of significance as there is an imperative need to create awareness around safe sex practices. It is the most effective way to prevent HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. There is still stigma attached to usage of condom. Need of the hour is to create mass awareness and positive messages around condoms especially among the youth.”

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, Brand Ambassador, AIDS Healthcare Foundation India commented, “India bears the most sexually active population – being 65% of population under 35 years. It is meaningful to observe such days in India. The need is to create conversations and platforms which provide right education around safe sex practices. There is a significant section of our population that is vulnerable to risky and unhealthy behavior and experimentation leading to deteriorating quality of life and health in later years as a result of a lack of a comprehensive education on the various nuances of sex education”.

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