Friday, 22 Aug, 2008 Offbeat

Free Condoms For Young, Strong and Single Olympic Athletes


Free Condoms For Young, Strong and Single Olympic AthletesOlympics games in Barcelona were the first to give away free condoms (70,000 pieces were given away and 20,000 needed to be brought additionally). Then came Sydney which ran out of free condoms quite quickly. Then it was Athens where the number of free condoms doubled and organizers from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games look forward to give away 100,000 condoms that would satisfy the needs of Olympic athletes.

Unfortunately sex is not an Olympic sport but it is definitely could be one of the major activities in the Olympic village where 10,500 athletes have plenty of time on their hands after finishing the competitions. All of them are in good shape, so why wait?

It is worth mentioning that since the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, athletes received free condoms at every Olympics in order to help increase the awareness in AIDS. The current Olympic Games are not an exception.

"There are many young, strong, single people in the athletes' village and, like everywhere, some will fall in love or other things so we need to make condoms available. A lot of these young people are not married or in relationships so we want to make sure they have the information and tools to protect themselves if they have sexual encounters," said Ole Hansen, spokesman for UNAIDS China.

The 100,000 free condoms represent part of a campaign aimed towards HIV prevention and anti-discrimination. The campaign was launched by the UNAIDS, the Beijing organizing committee BOCOG and the International Olympic Committee.

According to the Foundation for AIDS Research, amfAR, organizers of 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City gave away 100,000 free condoms after religious groups protested against the distribution of 250,000 free condoms. Organizers of the Olympic Games in Athens distributed 130,000 free condoms.

According to Hansen the number of condoms given away at Beijing was based on previous Olympic Games' practice. Free condoms are available at medical centers at athlete's centers located in Beijing, Qingdao and Hong Kong.

"We have people here from all religions and cultural backgrounds, some of whom may feel uncomfortable or offended with condoms in their room,'' said Hansen.

In addition, every brochure about HIV given at medical centers includes 2 condoms.

"No one can see that you are carrying condoms to save any embarrassment. People are encouraged to take the leaflets and to take as many as they like. They can use them or take them home for friends and spread the knowledge and awareness," said Hansen.


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