Indian Health Officials Give Condoms at Illegal Porn Theaters

Anne Winter
AHMEDABAD, India — In an effort to spread awareness and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, health officials in the western part of the country are handing out condoms outside of theaters that screen illegal adult films.

Those who frequent these theaters, such as migrant laborers and truck drivers, are considered by health officials to be at high risk for contracting and spreading STDs through unsafe and casual sex.

H.K. Anant, one of the health officials involved with the condom distribution plan, said people are going to continue with this behavior, and that the least officials can do is to make it safer.

"The migrant population will not stop watching pornographic movies or visiting sex workers," Anant said. "All we want them to do is to stop unsafe sex."

In 800 different theaters, male volunteers are instructed not to embarrass or alarm patrons — screening the films is illegal, but the law is rarely enforced — and to merely approach attendees as they leave, handing them packets of condoms.

According to the United Nations, approximately 5.7 million Indians have tested HIV-positive — reportedly the highest rate in the world.