Brazil’s Ministry of Health reports that it intends to distribute some 25 million condoms for Carnaval. The annual distribution will be different this year: it will begin today and end on Friday (February 17), a week before the festivities begin.
Four states will get half of the condoms – São Paulo (4.5 million), Rio de Janeiro (2.8 million), Bahia (2.5 million) and Pernambuco (2.3 million). For the sake of comparison, last year 11 million condoms were distributed throughout the whole country.
Spokesmen for the Program for Sexually Transmitted Disease/AIDS, say that the distribution is based on population, Carnaval traditions and expected number of tourists.
"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. Problems with quality control prevented that number of being much higher.
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.