[Citizen News Service and IRMA are collaborating to amplify rectal microbicide research and advocacy, as well as IRMA-led initiatives, throughout AIDS 2012, and after.]

via Citizen News Service, by Bobby Ramakant

At the recently concluded XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012), the ‘And Lubes’ campaign that brought attention to the fact that condoms should be distributed along with lubricants (or lubes) to meet the needs of those practicing anal sex, was certainly not ‘preaching to the choir.’ Reality was grimmer with AIDS 2012 rightly promoting ‘condomize’ campaign but without lubes! The way condoms were in the spotlight when AIDS 2012 began lubes weren’t. Only until mid-way into the conference when And Lubes campaign repeatedly raised the issue of non-availability of lubes on-site, we could then find more lubes being distributed along with male and female condoms. Even condoms along with lubes in the same sachet were made available!

According to the United Nations joint programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), anal sex considerably increases risk of HIV acquisition. People practicing anal sex are also at a high risk of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and condoms alone are not enough to protect them from HIV or other STIs. People practicing anal sex, for example, need condoms with safer, affordable, accessible lubes to protect them from HIV and STIs.
“Lubes are not really accessible or affordable to most people in Africa who practice anal sex. Lubes if available are very expensive. Most people might be using water, oil, etc” said Abimbola Williams from Nigeria. Abimbola is an advocate with International Rectal Microbicides Advocates (IRMA).

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