Sat, Feb 15, 2020 - Page 6 News List

Campaigners distribute condoms in Mexico City


Volunteers at an AIDS Healthcare Foundation event for “International Condom Day” enter a metro station in Mexico City on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Residents in Mexico’s sprawling capital were encouraged to play it safe on Valentine’s Day, as 100,000 condoms were on Thursday distributed across the city’s metro stations in the run-up to the annual love fest.

Dozens of volunteers, some dressed as garish-colored condoms, dished out packets of rubber protection across 24 metro stations as part of a campaign to prevent venereal diseases, rising HIV infections across Mexico and unwanted pregnancies.

Celebrating “International Condom Day” on Thursday, sexual safety campaigners from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation launched their campaign using the “Condom use is sexy” tagline.

“Unfortunately, every year, because of shame or misinformation, people are infected with various diseases,” said Miriam Ruiz, head of the AIDS rapid testing area at the foundation.

Only 15 percent of Mexican couples use condoms, said the foundation, which wants to break the “taboo” around the use of condoms.

The campaign resonated with many residents in Mexico City, home to nearly 9 million people, with more than 21 million in its greater metropolitan area.

“I use condoms, but the truth is that there is still a lot of machismo in Mexico and men do not want to use a condom,” 23-year-old student Manuela Zepeda said.

“I tell men: if you want [sex], put it on,” she added, while showing the female condom that she had just been given.

Daily HIV infections increased from 33 to 44 per day between 2017 and 2018, National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV and AIDS data showed.

Lourdes Zamuro, a 63-year-old woman, took two strips.

“These condoms are for my grandchildren,” she said in front of her husband, Adrian Carrera, 65. “Things were different before. We can’t stop them having sex. Better to inform them and help them.”

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