Brazil’s Ministry of Health will buy around one billion condoms for free distribution in 2006. An international bidding process will begin within approximately two weeks, informed Pedro Chequer, director of the Ministry’s National Program for Sexually Transmitted Diseases – STD/AIDS.
According to Chequer, the purchase is being made in advance in order to avoid problems, since world production is insufficient.
Chequer pointed out that the Brazilian government has also focused on domestic production.
When the construction of a factory in the state of Acre is concluded this year, domestic condom production will attain one hundred million.
“Moreover, we have sought the assistance of the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) in support of Brazilian private industry.
“We have discussed financing the expansion of the country’s three existing industries. At present, they are still unable to supply the demands of the Ministry of Health,” he affirmed.
The government’s goal is to distribute three billion condoms in 2008. This year’s target is 1.2 billion.
Chequer recalled that the chances for people to have casual partners during the Carnaval season is much greater than during other periods of the year.
Therefore, the campaign “Dress yourself, always use a condom” will distribute 11 million condoms during this year’s festivities.
But the campaign will not end when Carnaval is over; the distribution of condoms and the campaign will continue during the coming months.
He also recalled that the Ministry has sought to stimulate the use of condoms by sponsoring activities in conjunction with non-governmental organizations and state and municipal governments.
“Research shows that nearly 100% of the sexually active population in Brazil considers the condom a fundamental tool to prevent diseases. This is very good, but it’s not enough.
“Condoms, even though they are used in two-thirds of sexual relations, are still not used 100% of the time. What is fundamental is that this occur on all occasions, and this is the Ministry’s goal,” he said.
Translation: David Silberstein