The guests at the Commonwealth Games could avail themselves of free condoms at some selected places, if the proposal by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) materialises. Condoms also can be bought at vending machines to be put up at all the venues.

NACO Director-General K. Chandramouli said condom vending machines would also be set up at offices and hotels associated with the Games. “We are doing this to meet the challenge of HIV/AIDS,” he said.

The guests would be free to either buy them or avail themselves of free samples at select places. The condoms from machines can be bought by dropping in a Rs.5 coin for a single piece.

About 200 vending machines are expected to be put up, dispensing roughly one lakh condoms.

“We are in talks with the State (Delhi) government and other civic authorities to rope in manpower to put up the condom vending machines,” Mr. Chandramouli said.

The government is preparing to install such machines in rural areas and at non-traditional shops under its social marketing programme, including the Public Distribution System shops.

Interestingly, NACO claims that people prefer to buy condoms than acquire them for free.

“There seems to be a reversal in trends as more and more people (60 per cent) prefer to buy condoms than accessing them free. It has also been found that when people spend money, they use it while they may throw it off if given free,” he said. But he could not explain whether this change was due to fear of poor quality condoms or its non-availability.

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