Ahead of Valentine’s Day on 14 February, the government of Thailand is planning to distribute 95 million free condoms in an attempt to promote safe sex and prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
Anyone with a universal healthcare card, also called the “gold card”, can receive up to “10 condoms a week for one year”, which are available in four sizes, from 1 February onwards, from any pharmacy and hospital primary care units.
The main aim of the programme is to prevent teen pregnancies, cervical cancer, and STDs such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, AIDS, etc.
To avail of these free condoms, people will have to register on the Paotang application or show a Thai national identity card at any of the designated outlets for the programme.
But is it really needed? Apparently, yes. According to the World Health Organisation, 24.4 percent of girls aged 15-19 years in Thailand gave birth to one out of every 1000 babies in the country in 2021. Not just that, STDs have also been on a rise in the country.
Government Spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek stated on Tuesday, 31 January,
“The campaign to give out free condoms to gold-card holders will help prevent diseases and promote public health.”