Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Twu Shiing-jer’s (涂醒哲) necktie, which has cartoon pictures of condoms on it, has often been a point of discussion for his fellow legislators.
Few people know about Twu’s condom collection, which he calls his hobby.
In the 15 years since he started his collection, he has collected hundreds of types of condoms.
Twu started collecting condoms when he was a doctor at the Department of Health hospital in Taoyuan.
He was the first doctor in Taiwan to see a patient infected with candidiasis, commonly known as yeast infection, from the throat all the way down to the esophagus, he said.
In 1992, he was one of the doctors who established the first civic group for AIDS prevention and began his work fighting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
His outpatient clinical service at a center for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases also made him realize the importance of prevention in fighting AIDS, he said.
The biannual International AIDS Conference is an important event for Twu, where he trades useful information, as well as condoms, with other health experts.
Among his collection, Twu boasts of condoms in the shape of omamori, or traditional good-luck charms, with words of blessing that say: “Safe sex ensures peace for future generations.”
Fruit-flavored condoms are also part of Twu’s collection.
Aside from collecting condoms, Twu also wears his condom necktie whenever he attends AIDS-related events, so that he can start a conversation with people about the importance of safe sex.
Twu has also been known to hand out gifts to the media containing condoms and small candies.