Vietnamese Hotels To Offer Free Condoms To Guests

A government initiative that originally focused on hotels in certain districts of Ho Chi Minh City has now been expanded to all hotels in an attempt to combat unsafe sexual practices.

What's the Latest Development?


Authorities in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City have issued a directive to all hotels: To the other perks offered to your guests, add free condoms. It's an expansion from a previous recommendation limited to hotels in certain districts, and although the government won't be providing the condoms, the directive reassures hotel owners who were concerned about violating anti-prostitution laws. By its pragmatism, it also illustrates the failure of more repressive measures attempted by authorities in the past.

What's the Big Idea?

Vietnam's conservative, family-focused culture forces people to look for creative ways to have illicit sex in private. Hotels are a popular destination, which is why they are receiving the government's attention. Lack of education is a problem: According to studies, "just 42 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds...understand the risks of H.I.V., [and] 16 percent of young people think condoms are only for prostitutes." The public health numbers aren't great either: "40 percent of Vietnamese men have had sex with prostitutes, and...20 percent of prostitutes in Hanoi and 16 percent in Ho Chi Minh City have H.I.V." 

Patrik Dietrich / Shutterstock.com

Read it at The New York Times

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