HIV tests, free condoms for Ukrainian Condom Day celebrations

Published: February 12, 2013

If a Condom Day celebration evokes images of a bright festival with people dressed as variously flavored condoms dancing in the streets, a reality check is needed.

For the International Condom Day, an HIV test is in order.

A couple of condom days are celebrated by different non-profit organizations throughout the year.

“As far as I know there is a Day of Women’s Condom in September and many organizations have their own Condom Days differently celebrated in different countries, there is even a Week of Condoms celebrated in the USA,” says Constance Boris, regional advocacy manager at AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which started their own Condom Day in Ukraine on Feb. 13, mostly held in an educational way.

There were more than 20,000 condoms given away during such actions all over Ukraine and more than 500 people got tested for HIV in 4 Kyiv’s Ashan supermarkets. And this is not the third year such celebrations take place in Kyiv and some other Ukrainian cities.

“Our organization celebrates Condoms Day in 12 cities and towns around Ukraine, such as Odesa, Bilgorod-Dnistrovskyi, Lysychansk, Kozyatyn, Kerch and many others, though HIV testing is only available In Kyiv and Belgorod-Dnistrovskyi,”  Boris says.

And despite the huge amount of superstitions about HIV and AIDS in Ukraine, Boris ensures that every time they organize such free express HIV testing in public places around Ukraine, people are not only eager to undergo such test but even ready to wait in a line to get tested. “I think this clearly shows the need of such actions within Ukrainian community,” Boris explains.  “Of course there are many opportunities to get tested for HIV for free at the trust centers around Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, but people usually don’t do that, just because it takes time and people simply like to postpone the unpleasant issues,” she said.

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