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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 11, November 2012, Posted On: 10/18/2012

Condom Vending Machines Are Vandalized As India Pushes Ahead With STD Prevention Program

Hank Schlesinger
TAGS: vending, vending machine, condom vending machine, vending machine vandalism, vending machine theft, National AIDS Control Organization

LUDHIANA, Punjab -- Vending machine operators in India are learning about the downside of the coin-op business the hard way. A program to promote safe sex by offering condoms through vending machines is being threatened by vandalism and theft.

The program, which was funded by India's National AIDS Control Organization, installed some 70 venders earlier this year. Of those, approximately 30 machines have been stolen, and numerous purchases at the remaining machines have been made with counterfeit coins.

Local press reports have expressed shock and dismay at the situation, noting that the venders were installed in high-traffic locations like book markets, railway stations and public restrooms in hospitals and health clinics -- all seemingly safe.

The machines cost $50 apiece and vend a three-condom pack for about $1.

No doubt American operators, who have had their share of thefts and vandalism, can sympathize.

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