Argentina to hand out 82 million condoms, 17 million lubricating gels
Argentina plans to give out 82 million condoms nationwide in 2013 in a campaign against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, the health ministry said Friday.
The condoms will be handed out at health centers, schools, prisons, bars and nightclubs, as well as through a network of nearly 3 000 fixed spots at public agencies.
The free distribution of condoms -- and of 17 million lubricating gels -- aims to "ensure access to preventative methods against sexually transmitted diseases," the ministry said in a statement.
Lubrication helps prevent condoms from tearing and helps avoid abrasions, which could lead to contaminated blood infecting the partner.
In Argentina, about 5 500 people are newly diagnosed with HIV each year, and "90% of new infections come from sex without using condoms," it added.
However, the agency noted that the number of new HIV infections has dropped by more than 30% since 2004, and the infection rate in 2010 stood at 11.7 cases per 100 000, down from 17.3 per 100 000.
Argentina has a population of 40 million people, 30 million of whom are over 15 years old.