Talking about Condoms in Vietnam
Le Thi Lam is an Administrator with DKT-Vietnam. When she joined DKT in 2003, she had never really talked about family planning. “The first day I came, it was strange to talk about condoms, but now when I meet people I talk about condoms naturally,” Lam recalls. “People are very interested in talking to me about birth control. When friends of mine got married, I talk to them about family planning. I like social marketing and public health. It’s very suitable for me.” Lam also likes a painting that hangs in the DKT-Vietnam office in Hanoi. “It was painted by Nguyen Trong Kien, who is HIV-positive and overcame depression and drug addiction to become an AIDS activist,” Lam explained. “He is now very famous in Vietnam both for his work on HIV/AIDS awareness and for his paintings.”
Community Meetings & Counseling in Maharashtra, India
Reaching hundreds of millions of consumers with information about family planning is quite a challenge in such a large and heterogeneous country as India. DKT-Mumbai uses a wide variety of education and communication approaches from television and radio advertisements to small meetings with women. For example, every year DKT conducts over one hundred face-to-face community meetings with the support of local women’s groups, youth associations, and NGOs. They address such important topics as reproductive health (anatomy, physiology, and personal hygiene), conception, and the benefits of family planning with a focus on IUDs as a long-term contraceptive method for spacing or limiting family size. These meetings are followed by confidential counseling sessions like this one in the city of Nallasopara outside Mumbai where DKT field workers talk to women about contraceptive choices.
National Condom Week in Indonesia
Throughout Indonesia, DKT sells condoms to promote safe sex and protect couples form HIV/AIDS. Several months ago during Indonesia’s National Condom Week, DKT presented a plaque to the National AIDS Commission in celebration of selling 736 million condoms since being established in 1996. Although National Condom Week has drawn criticism from conservative groups who say that it promotes promiscuity, DKT joined with the government and other organizations to present awards for best media coverage during National Condom Week. First and second prize winners traveled to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to visit factories where DKT’s Sutra and Fiesta condoms are manufactured. They also learned about the importance of condoms in promoting improved public health in Indonesia.
Fighting HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Xhosa-speaking Khayelitsha Township outside Cape Town, South Africa is at the epicenter of the country’s HIV/AIDS epidemic with a prevalence rate of over 20 percent. DKT-South Africa believes that attempts to slow this pandemic have failed because of a lack of involvement from inside those communities hit hardest by HIV/AIDS. Using Xhosa-speaking field workers, DKT is visiting every family in Khayelitsha Township to discuss how they can lower their risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV/AIDS by postponing sexual activity, reducing the number of sexual partners, becoming circumcised, and using condoms. After visits, residents receive referrals to existing nearby programs and services they might have never known about. In just over a year, field workers have directly reached over 200,000 of the township’s 500,000 residents.