To harness youth and ensure their health and well-being, Condom Alliance – a shared value collective of condom market players and other stakeholders to improve the well-being of young people in India, launched India’s first-ever Condomology report. Condomology stands for Consumer Condom Psychology and aptly describes the context and focus of the report that offers an understanding of the consumer psychology and attitude towards the use of condoms while demystifying the misconceptions and other barriers to using.
In a nation with 50 percent of the population under the age of 24 and 65 percent below the age of 35 years of age, 78 percent of a young male between the age of 20-24 did not use a contraceptive with their last sexual partner- according to National Family Health Survey – 4 (NFHS – 4), indicating the need to urgently address an imminent crisis in reproductive and sexual health. An increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and the rise in the number of STIs serve as a significant barrier to achieving the nation’s goal of sustainable development for the youth.
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The report attempts to address some critical questions – Why are we low on condom usage? Where does India stand with regards to Global Condom usage? The answers all indicate that unfortunately, despite the social media boom and the influx of casual dating apps, the youth still struggle with years of social conditioning and societal judgment with regards to accurate and essential information about protected sex and contraceptives.
The statistics indicate an imminent reproductive and sexual health crisis:
Only 7 percent of young women and 27 percent of young men had ever used condoms in pre-marital sex. Only 3 percent and 13 percent, respectively, always used a condom, according to a study titled “Condom Use Before Marriage and Its Correlates: Evidence from India” conducted by the Population Council in 2011.
India ranks third highest in the number of HIV cases, according to the United Nations (UN).
The condom market has only witnessed a 2 percent CAGR in volume, in the past few years despite the campaigns led by government bodies and other institutions to encourage the use of contraceptives. Globally the numbers of women relying on male condoms increased from 64 million to 189 million from 1994 to 2019.
Unlike the rest of the world, condom usage remains extremely low at 5.6 percent based on the NFHS 4. The report attempts to demystify the social and psychological reasons that create a barrier for use through the following key questions:
“Why do I need a condom?” — The lack of awareness about the rather serious and grim repercussions
“Is using a condom the right decision?” — Myths and misconceptions related to use
“How do I procure a condom?” — The barriers faced in the last mile
Ravi Bhatnagar, member of Condom Alliance and Reckitt Director of External Affairs and Partnerships in Asia, the Middle East, and South Africa, further added: “The report calls to all key stakeholders to take stock of the situation and respond in a concerted manner to bring about the necessary behavior change. From the implementation of the recently launched adolescence education program in its true spirit to sensitizing chemists for smoother purchase transactions to removing broadcast restrictions on condom advertisements — there is still much ground to cover. There is an urgent need to galvanize support and take steps as a society to address the psychological and social barriers that prevent our youth from making the right choice of using condoms.”
Joining the chorus, Mr. Balaji, member of Condom Alliance and Senior Vice President, Operations, TTK Protective Devices Limited — TTK Healthcare Ltd, said, “The past year has been a year of reflections. As a race, we have suddenly realized the importance of making healthier choices. There can be no better time than this to review and address barriers that prevent our youth from making the same healthier choices when it comes to sexual and reproductive health. This report is a step in that direction. It aims to initiate the necessary conversations and discussions amongst key stakeholders and bring these conversations about safe sex and contraceptives in mainstream society.” (IANS/KB)
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