The Brazilian Ministry of Health’s National Program for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (DST/AIDS), is ready to deal with the generalized revelry that characterizes Carnaval in Brazil by distributing 25 million free condoms to the revellers to promote safe sex.
That is up from 11 million condoms distributed during Carnaval in 2005. NGOs will be handing out the condoms at hospitals and health stations, and whenever reveling occurs: parades, dances, parties and on the streets.
"It’s that time of year when we boost distribution because of the increase in demand," said an spokesperson for the Health Ministry’s anti-AIDS program.
The ministry says the increase in the number of condoms is directly related to its own perception, and the public’s, of the best way to prevent AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
A survey by the country’s most prestigious research laboratory in 2004 found that fully 96% of Brazilians believed in the efficiency of condoms.
As a result, there has been a steady rise in the distribution of condoms. Throughout the year of 2004 the ministry distributed a total of 154 million condoms, and in 2005 that number rose to 251 million (the number could have been much higher, but there were many problems with quality control).
This year, the problems resolved, the ministry aims to distribute no less than 1.5 billion condoms.
The government is also testing a machine that sells condoms for 10 cents each. If they are approved, the machines will be placed around the country.
Carnaval this year starts the night of February 24, a Friday and goes up to noon on Ash Wednesday, March 1st. It’s a time of loud music, plenty of booze, little clothing and lots of sex. Rio de Janeiro may have the best known festivities, but celebrations bigger or smaller are held all around the country.