In a boost to family planning measures and controlling AIDS, the Government has earmarked nearly Rs. 400 crore for increasing the coverage of eligible couples under a programme which includes free distribution of oral birth control pills and condoms.

A total of Rs. 55 crore has been allocated for free distribution of contraceptives like oral pills, IUDs, tubal rings, E-pills and laparoscopes to the state government for distribution to couples free of cost through sub-centres, primary health centres (PHC), community health centres (CHC) and hospitals.

Under the project, 450 lakh cycles of oral pills, 75 lakh pieces of IUDs, 25 lakh packs of emergency contraceptive pills and 217.48 lakh pregnancy test kits are to be supplied to the health centres.

The procurement for condoms would be made as per the demand projected by the states and Union Territories and will be supplied to them during the financial year.

Apart from this, oral pills would be available to eligible couples through social marketing organisations.

Condoms would be provided to the states for distribution to eligible couples free of cost through sub-centres, PHCs, CHCs, hospitals. Condoms will also be made available to the eligible couples through condom vending machines.

The cost for this project, to be headed by the National AIDS Control Organisation, would alone be Rs. 304 crore.

The focus would also be on social marketing of the condoms.

Funds amounting to Rs. 50 lakh would be directly released to Senior Medical Officers (SMO) in Government hospitals for projects approved by them in specific areas.

According to 2006 estimates, the national adult HIV prevalence in India is approximately 0.36 per cent, affecting between 2 and 3.1 million people. If an average figure is taken, this comes to 2.5 million people living with HIV and AIDS, almost 50 per cent of the previous estimate of 5.2 million.

More men are HIV positive than women. Nationally, the prevalence rate for adult females is 0.29 per cent, while for males it is 0.43 per cent.

This means that for every 100 people living with HIV and AIDS, 61 are men and 39 women. Prevalence is also high in the 15-49 age group (88.7 per cent of all infections), indicating that AIDS still threatens the cream of society and those in the prime of their working life.

While adult HIV prevalence among the general population is 0.36 per cent, high-risk groups, inevitably, show higher numbers. Among Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), it is as high as 8.71 per cent, while it is 5.69 per cent and 5.38 percent among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Female Sex Workers (FSWs), respectively.

Keywords: family planningAIDSHIVhealth