More affordable OK Condom launched to ensure more access

More affordable OK Condom launched to ensure more access

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Retailing at 500 riels for a package of three, the OK Condom brand will play central role in a renewed push to combat HIV/Aids in the Kingdom

Photo by: Eleanor Ainge Roy

A couple takes a quiet moment at the Phnom Penh riverside.

THE United States and the United Kingdom launched a new condom under the brand name OK Condom Tuesday as part of a renewed push to combat HIV/Aids in Cambodia, which has declined from two percent in 1998 to 0.9 percent in 2006.

The new condoms will be available from Monday next week and will sell in pharmacies, guesthouses and entertainment venues across Cambodia, retailing for 500 riels for a package of three. It will be the cheapest condom currently available on the market.

Piper A W Campbell, deputy chief of mission of the US embassy in Cambodia, said at the launch party on Tuesday that the condom price would differ according to the means of the customer, and the very poorest in society would be offered the condoms for free.

"This ‘Total Market Approach' will ensure that all Cambodian people - regardless of their income, gender or social status - will have access to this health product," she said.

According to Population Services International (PSI), a key partner in the OK Condom launch, more than 90 percent of condoms distributed in Cambodia are purchased with donor support.

PSI research indicates that OK Condoms will be affordable and available to consumers with the highest risk of contracting HIV/Aids, including brothel and street-based sex workers, gay men, male clients of sex workers, intravenous drug users and people already living with the disease.  

Education in rural areas

Mom Bun Heng, minister of public health, said that education of the rural populations on the risk of having sex without a condom is an absolute necessity when it comes to combating the spread of HIV/Aids in Cambodia.

"If lovers don't understand about ... the benefits of using condoms, they will be vulnerable to danger," he added.

"We would like to appeal to all NGOs who work with HIV/Aids issues to continue to expand their activity in dissemination of information and to offer services to people who live in the countryside as well.

"Condom use is very important. I myself use condoms with my wife because I think that using condoms has a lot of benefits. It can prevent the spread of diseases, especially HIV/Aids, and it can prevent pregnancy," he said.

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