What’s wrong with saying – “Condom safe, but fidelity safest”?

Associating any illness with lack of morals and/or infidelity can be compared to associating sexual crimes with the victim’s life style and provocative clothing.

It could stigmatise and silence those affected.

I know of an ‘aids widow’ – she receives ‘aids pension’, is in good health, has a child who goes to school. But the family is uncomfortable talking about how her husband died.

How does this silence (caused by stigma) help the government, the medical fraternity and the society in coping with a serious infection?

According to this family, he was infected by a blood transfusion.

Shaming, stigmatising and silencing does not help control crimes or prevent illnesses.

It seems, somehow – some of us see talking about sex as against Indian culture and values.

Are such statements based on facts and information?

India’s Health Minister Says ‘Promote Indian Culture, Not Condoms, To Prevent AIDS’

The Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that he would like the government to focus more on promoting the ‘integrity of the sexual relationship between husband and wife’, which was part of Indian culture, to create awareness about AIDS and HIV rather than promote usage of condoms. In an interview to The New York Times, he said that promoting the use of condoms ‘sends the wrong message that you can have any kind of illicit sexual relationship, but as long as you’re using a condom, it’s fine’ and that “The thrust of the AIDS campaign should not only be on the use of condoms.”



16 thoughts on “What’s wrong with saying – “Condom safe, but fidelity safest”?

  1. ” ‘sends the wrong message that you can have any kind of illicit sexual relationship, but as long as you’re using a condom, it’s fine’ ”
    — This is a wrong message?? how?? what is illicit sex??
    This is the health minister???? oh god shoot me now.


  2. Pingback: What exactly do those who object to Sex Education think Sex Education is? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  3. So he focus of healh minisry is on promoing fideliy, promoting Indian culure and ensuring that condoms are used only for birh control. Wow! the health deptt extends its scope of work.How cool is that.


  4. Ridiculous, how do these people get these jobs,?! Actually don’t answer that 😉 there should be education on this because clearly culture is being under valued for whatever reason, the longer they don’t accept this the worse the problem will get! Thanks for posting, v interesting x


  5. Well I am not sure if he was quoted properly as I read umpteen versions of the interviews. Well my hope is that he said something to the effect of condoms are not foolproof. If it is something like one person for a lifetime theory, then that’s sad.


  6. So, even just implying that people should remain faithful to their partners and not sleep around is “controversial” now. May be you people are right. The minister should encourage people to sleep around and install condom dispensers in every street corner.

    PS: Even with 100% proper use and no condom breakage, one can still get STDs like HPV and Syphillis since they can also spread by skin to skin contact.


    • Anon, I’m not sure if you’ll get it or if you even want to get it, but I’ll try to explain to the best of my ability.

      1) In my opinion, the problem with abstinence education is the same as the problem with communism. It doesn’t take human nature into account. Please go through the below link which describes the level to which abstinence only education has been ineffective. It also addresses the misinformation about condoms and STDs/HPV.

      2) Abstinence can be suggested as one of the ways of reducing STDs and unwanted pregnancies, but this CANNOT be used as an excuse to trivialize protected sex or birth control. If the Health Minister does this, then he is guilty of neglecting to do his job.

      3) Condom dispensers on every street corner is actually a very good idea. But I don’t understand the connection between condom dispensers and sleeping around. You seem to think condoms are responsible for sex. That’s demonstrably false. I know people who have had condoms for years, but no sex :). Condoms don’t trigger sex…however sexual activity is far safer because of condoms.

      4) Finally, your entire categorization is deliberately false and misleading. No one is asking the minister to encourage people to sleep around. The main problem that people have with Harsha Vardhan’s statement is that he is using his position of power to impose his personal moral code on the public. No, thank you. We elected the health minister to do his job, not to convert us to his naive belief system. His statement wasn’t “controversial”, just useless and potentially harmful to millions of people.


      • You are twisting the facts here. No one is talking about abstinence. The minister mentioned only about fidelity and not abstinence. Those are two different things. And, yes, fidelity is an Indian value and in fact, infidelity is eve illegal in many cases (adultery laws). So, I don’t see the need for all this brouhaha for emphasizing both condoms and fidelity.

        And, it is duty of the government to promote values that are good to the society (like not murdering or stealing) and being faithful to your partner is one of them.


        • No it is not the duty of the govt to promote good moral values, morals values are diff for different people, what’;s right for one may not be for another, Sure your moral values cannot impact another , hence stealing ( causing financial harm to another), murder ( causing bodily harm to another) etc is not allowed, If one person chooses to have sex with 3 other people and they all agree who is it harming???

          Even if it’s morally wrong the minister has no business lecturing about it, do it in the confines of his home, he’s not my dad to lecture me on morals, I’m an aduly he needs to do his job, medically do what is necessary and not impose his social views ont he world. as for indian culture, we didnt elect him to uphold that, we have more than enough unelected people imposing that.
          All this is a way to not do their job, talk nonsense, cause confusion and divert people from holding you accountable. and what better way could there be than tossing in indian culture in the mix. a useless phrase word used by lazy people.


  7. Indian culture, really? How far we have left Indian culture behind. Indian culture used to celebrate LGBT and Sexuality. What this is is crappy British Victorian Colonial uptight mindset. It is not Indian culture.


  8. “It seems, somehow – some of us see talking about sex as against Indian culture and values.”

    Coming from the second most populated country in the world, all I can say is, what an irony! If you look at it, The maximum sex per square foot happens on Indian soil!

    I don’t see the relation between sex and culture. Where is the connection at all? Sex is sex. Culture is culture. Sex is something you choose to or not to have, and there’s no shame or glory to it. It’s just another thing people do, like eating, or sleeping, or working, or going to the loo or, hanging out with friends. You take precautions while driving or crossing the road, you take precautions while having sex, just like you take precautions with anything that poses a risk to your life or well being. Simple as that, and what’s the big deal about it anyway? It has nothing to do with culture, and we should start to kill this mindset, one step at a time.


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