Thailand is distributing 95 million free condoms ahead of Valentine’s Day in an effort to reduce sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and teen pregnancy.
If annual contraceptive sales statistics are any indication, people are more likely to purchase them on or around Valentine’s Day than at any other time of year — and the Thai government is taking a progressive approach to it, in contrast to the country’s pervasive cultural conservatism.
Details about This country is distributing 95 million free condoms in advance of Valentine’s Day
According to Thailand government spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek, universal healthcare cardholders who want to take advantage of the scheme (and, of course, sex) would be entitled to 10 condoms every week for a year beginning Wednesday, February 1, 2023.
“The effort to provide free condoms to gold-card holders will benefit in disease prevention and public health,” the spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday.
The condoms are available in four sizes and will be distributed at pharmacies and hospitals across the country in order to prevent STDs such as syphilis, AIDS, cervical cancer, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia, according to Bloomberg, citing an official announcement by Thailand’s National Health Security Office (NHSO).
Syphilis and gonorrhoea accounted for more than half of all sexually transmitted diseases in Thailand in 2021, with both infections increasing with time.
According to official data, the age groups most at risk of contracting an STD were those aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 24.
In 2021, as many as 24.4 Thai girls between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth. To put that in context, the World Health Organization reported a global rate of 42.5 in the same year.