A new WHO publication addresses condom use in entertainment establishments

News release

Since 1981, more than 47 million people have been infected with HIV, many of whom have now died. Despite progress in containing the epidemic in some countries, it continues to grow with an alarming rate in many parts of the world.

Sex is the major transmission route for HIV in a number of countries. A key factor in the sexual transmission of HIV is the lack of condom use in commercial sex work or prostitution. Female sex workers usually become infected with HIV from infected male clients who do not use condoms with them when having sex. Once infected with HIV, sex workers may then transmit the virus to other male clients, who may infect their wives, girlfriends or other sex workers. This is directly due to low levels of condom use in commercial sex.

To address the issue of condom use in entertainment establishments, the World Health Organization, Western Pacific Regional Office has produced a new publication entitled "100% Condom Use Programme in Entertainment Establishments". The guide is written for decision-makers and technical staff in different departments, including Ministries of Health.

The guide sets out the rationale for the programme and describes the steps for its initiation and expansion. The guide also provides two case studies, namely from Cambodia and Thailand. Experiences from both countries are encouraging. In Thailand, although the 100% Condom Use Programme has not achieved full 100% condom use, improved condom use has had a dramatic impact on the prevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI). The incidence of STIs decreased from 6.5 infections per 1000 population in 1989 to 2.07/1000 in 1992. It is estimated that the programme has already prevented more than 2 million HIV infections in Thailand alone. Recent data from Cambodia also demonstrate that the programme has had a rapid impact on decreasing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Technical support and additional information for implementing a 100% Condom Use Programme may be requested from the HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (HIS) focus of the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific Region (email: HIS@wpro.who.int) and website www.wpro.who.int .

The publication is part of a series of documents on STI/HIV. Previous issues have covered topics such as, Laboratory Tests for the Detection of Reproductive Tract Infections, The Role of Public Policy in Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Sexually Transmitted Infections Prevalence Study Methodology.

The publication (ISBN 92 9061 1237) is available for sale at the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific Region (PO Box 2932, UN Avenue, 1000 Manila, Philippines).

For more information, contact Mr Charles Raby, Public Information Officer at (632) 528 9983 or email: rabyc@wpro.who.int

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