With condom supplies drying up, thousands of sex workers living in the capital’s red light area at Swami Shradhanand Marg (commonly referred to as GB Road) are under fear as it leaves them open to the danger of HIV/AIDS.
Taking note of the crisis and growing sense of outrage among sex workers, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal has sought a detailed report from National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). The commission wants to know the reasons for gap in supply and asked it to resume it on an urgent basis.
The last supply of condoms to Delhi State AIDS Control Society (DSACS) to be distributed to sex workers came in May. Now there is no supply resulting in anxiety and restlessness among women who have over the years learnt to gather courage to say no to clients refusing to use a condom.
Maliwal said about 5,000 women and hundreds of men are at a high risk of contracting HIV and many may have already fallen prey to the virus due to the condom shortage. “During my visits to GB Road, I have discovered that sex workers have not been receiving condoms for several months from the government. This makes them and others extremely vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases,” Maliwal said in her letter to NACO.
DCW had sought a report on the current status of supply of condoms from DSACS in which the latter stated that under phase-IV of National AIDS Control Programme they were supposed to receive 12 lakh free condoms every month from NACO, a division under ministry of health and family welfare.
“It is reported that no condoms were received by DSACS, except a supply of 24 lakh condoms in May 2015. Please provide the commission a detailed status report on the issue along with the reasons for the gap in supply of condoms. Also, please submit a detailed action plan of NACO on resumption of supply of condoms and methods that are being adopted to ensure that this crisis does not occur in future,” the letter says.
“DSACS has informed the commission that supply from NACO is expected to be resumed in the first week of October 2015. Kindly expedite the process on an urgent basis,” the letter added.
The DCW chief told TOI that in the coming days she will be taking up the matter with the health department of the state as well.