Condom shortages leading to spread of AIDS
Severe shortages in condom availability are contributing to the spread of AIDS in Eastern Europe and developing countries, according to a report released this week by Population Action International, the London Financial Times reports. An estimated 8 billion condoms are needed annually in these nations to prevent HIV transmission, but condom availability is less than 1 billion. Condom distribution in these countries, called "erratic and inconsistent" by the report, was 950 million in 2000, down from 970 million in 1990. The report calls for private and nonprofit partnerships to boost condom distribution efforts in at-risk populations and for reduction in commercial prices of condoms to make them more affordable for those who prefer to purchase them. More-effective HIV prevention programs that include condom distribution are also needed, particularly in poor nations, the report says.