" --IANS"
New Delhi, Feb 14 - Condoms in all their versatile forms, colors, and dimensions and uses were seen in Connaught Place, the heart of Delhi, on occasion was the celebration of the International Condom Day, organised by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) -- a global not-for-profit working towards making people treat condoms as an essential wardrobe item.

Mannequins, imaginatively condom-clad, were lined up, manifesting the organisation's motto, that says 'condoms are always in fashion' while boxes filled with prophylactic were placed randomly for people to reached into with abandon and take a wad of 'Love' Condom - a brand of the AHF that it distributes free of cost.

While three HIV testing booths attracted the most crowd, where people were seen waiting for their results eagerly, a man dressed as condom (or a 'condomoid') allowed one to glimpse the essential shield as another plaything.

Simran Sheikh, the Delhi President of 'Impulse', a group of gay people, working in collaboration of AHF, told IANS that condoms are a necessary tool to evade any contraction with the sexually transmitted diseases and people who argue against its use are in the wrong.

The most common excuse that people give against using condoms is 'maza nahi aata' (it doesn't give enough pleasure) and it is wrong. It has been scientifically proven that there isn't much difference in pleasure derived whether you have sex with or without condoms, said Sheikh, who identifies herself as a transgender.

A 40-foot inflatable condom was also placed by the organisers which youths marked with their signatures, amid a series of flash mobs and rock band performances.

Stigma on condoms is very high in India, even today, often blaming it on cultural and religious sentiments and the myth that-- popularising condoms in turn increaes promiscuity in the population.

But the reality is... awareness campaigns on condoms increase 'risk perception' among masses and emphasise that condoms are the best protection too available for preventions of STIs, HIV and unwanted pregnancies, V. Sam Prasad, Country Progrm Director of AHF India, said in a statement earlier.

This was the 10th edition of Condom Day celebrated by the AHF.

--IANS

vn/vd


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