Celebrating love isn't all about just cards and confectionaries, but about condoms too. As the world gears up to celebrate Valentine's Day on Wednesday, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation-India Cares (AHF) and the Kerala State AIDS Control Society are trying to spread this important message. On International Condom Day, which falls on February 13, they are jointly celebrating the occasion in Kochi with various city colleges at Rajendra Maidan. Dr V Sam Prasad of AHF says that at the second edition of the Kerala event, the aim is to destigmatise condoms in a lighthearted manner through events, conversations and discussions.
Dr Sam says, "Around 20 years ago, sanitary napkins faced a similar stigma and it was done away with through more awareness and discussions. Similarly, it is important to erase the stigma connected with condoms." According to the State Aids Control Society, Kochi is the hub of HIV infections in the state, says Dr Sam. "Kerala has been one of the least HIV-affected states nationally, until recent times. However, as per the latest data, newer infections are being diagnosed here, now. That's why we have the message 'Safer is Sexy - Just use it,' connected to the campaign that happens a day before Valentine's Day," he explains.
Awareness through fun
The day is not observed with a list of boring talks but through vibrant events like 'condom garment making,' skits, flashmobs and performances of live music bands. There will also be private kiosks where HIV tests can be done for those interested. "There is no point in discussing condoms or sexual education in a hush-hush manner, especially in a city like Kochi. The need of the hour is to educate the masses and destigmatise contraceptives so that people can buy and use the product sans embarrassment of any kind," Dr Sam adds.