News desk
A spokesman for ALAS, the Association for the Fight Against AIDS in the Balearics, said that it was “disheartened” by the continued lack of awareness of the disease and the lack of public funding.

The comments were made by a spokeswoman on the eve of the beach party organised for tonight at Can Pere Antoni beach in Palma, to raise awareness.
ALAS was founded 17 years ago, and yesterday the spokeswoman said that a survey on health and sexual habits published by the National Institute of Statistics showed that 87 percent of the population failed to identify how AIDS is transmitted.

Montserrat Tuset, the chairwoman, said that is was disheartening to find out that, 20 years after the discovery of AIDS, 43 percent of people in the Balearics did not use a condom in their first sexual contact and 41 percent have sex with an occasional partner without protection. “This has lead us to realise that the level of information is quite low, the causes of transmission are confused but we must continue to work or invent new strategies for getting the message across,” the association's co-ordinator, Eva Garcia, said.

ALAS has a team of nine employees, but Tuset said that their hands were tied by limited funding.
This means that this year, they have been unable to carry out their summer prevention campaign, which was to consist of handing out 400'000 condoms in tourist resorts.

Tuset said the tourism ministry said they had no funds, and the health ministry gave them 20'000 condoms. She said that the administration “does not value the activities we carry out to cover what they should be doing.” Last year, ALAS distributed 127'400 condoms in Majorca and Ibiza, and up to July this year had distributed 28'900.
The number of workshops on prevention has increased from last year's 71 to 118 so far this year.
The association has expressed a wish to pay more attention to improving the quality of life of AIDS sufferers as well as prevention, and carry out campaigns in factories and schools.

Tuset said that between 1981 and December last year, there were 1'970 cases of people who had developed AIDS. This puts the Balearics among the four regions with most victims, together with Madrid, the Basque country and Catalonia.

There are no figures for HIV carriers, although the health ministry started to compile information from August last year.


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