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Saturday, Sep 07, 2002

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Population control initiatives launched

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POPULATION Health Services (India), supported by the Marie Stopes International (MSI),has come up with two initiatives for Andhra Pradesh.

It has set up a reproductive health care centre called Jyothi and will market the condom `Thril'. Launching these two projects on Thursday, the Andhra Pradesh Health Minister, Dr N. Janardhan Reddy, said in view of the `high' incidence of AIDS in the State, more such efforts were required.

He said in Hyderabad alone, a total of 2,751 HIV positive cases had been detected. The PHS (I), a non-governmental organisation will distribute the condoms manufactured by Hindustan Latex Ltd, using their social marketing techniques.

`Thril' condoms are subsidised by the Government of India and are marketed to protect the most vulnerable section of society— the lower income group against sexually-transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies.

The PHS(I) has established a network of over 150 distributors across the country to market the condom as well as provide safe, affordable and quality health services. In Hyderabad, it has set up Jyothi, which is a health clinic in Ameerpet.

According to Mr Vivek Malhotra, Director of the PHS(I) "By launching a socially marketed product like Thril, it is our endeavour to bridge the gap between the lack of information and education surrounding the products, their correct use and in the case of condoms, the deadly disease of AIDS against which they protect".

The PHS (I), which started operations in Uttar Pradesh, is currently concentrating its efforts in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It plans to expand to the northern States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkand and also strengthen its presence in the North-Eastern States, according to a spokesperson.

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