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'Condom use is sexy': Mexico City campaigners dish out rubbers ahead of Valentine's Day

Reuters logo Reuters 2/14/2020 By Lizbeth Diaz
A man wearing a costume, representing a condom, is seen at a metro station giving free condoms on the International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/Carlos Jasso A man wearing a costume, representing a condom, is seen at a metro station giving free condoms on the International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City

By Lizbeth Diaz

A man wearing a condom costume gives out free condoms inside the metro on International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/CARLOS JASSO A man wearing a condom costume gives out free condoms inside the metro on International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Residents in Mexico's sprawling capital were encouraged to play it safe on Valentine's Day, as 100,000 condoms were distributed across the city's metro stations on Thursday in the run up to the annual love fest.

a group of people standing in front of a building: A man wearing a costume, representing a condom, is seen at a metro station, on the International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/CARLOS JASSO A man wearing a costume, representing a condom, is seen at a metro station, on the International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City

Dozens of volunteers, some dressed as garish-coloured condoms, dished out packets of rubber protection across 24 metro stations as part of a campaign to prevent venereal diseases, rising HIV infections across Mexico and unwanted pregnancies.

a group of people in a subway car: A man wearing a costume, representing a condom, is seen inside the metro car, on the International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/CARLOS JASSO A man wearing a costume, representing a condom, is seen inside the metro car, on the International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City

Celebrating 'International Condom Day' on Feb. 13, sexual safety campaigners from AIDS Health Foundation (AHF) organization launched their campaign using the "Condom use is sexy" tagline.

a group of people standing in a room: Members of an organization enter a metro station during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES Members of an organization enter a metro station during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City

"Unfortunately, every year, because of shame or misinformation, people are infected with various diseases," said Miriam Ruiz, head of the AIDS Rapid Testing Area at AHF.

a man and a woman in a wedding dress: Polo Gomez, also known as drag queen Yolanda la del Rio, from organization Condomovil A.C., gives out a free condom to a man during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES Polo Gomez, also known as drag queen Yolanda la del Rio, from organization Condomovil A.C., gives out a free condom to a man during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City

Only 15% of Mexican couples use condoms, according to AHF, and the organization wants to break the "taboo" around the use of condoms.

a person wearing a costume: Polo Gomez, also known as drag queen Yolanda la del Rio, from organization Condomovil A.C., gives out a free condom to a police officer during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES Polo Gomez, also known as drag queen Yolanda la del Rio, from organization Condomovil A.C., gives out a free condom to a police officer during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City

The campaign resonated with many residents in Mexico City, which is home to nearly 9 million people, with over 21 million in its greater metropolitan area.

a group of people holding wine glasses: A member of an organization holds an inflated condom during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City © Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES A member of an organization holds an inflated condom during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City

"I use condoms, but the truth is that there is still a lot of machismo in Mexico and men do not want to use a condom," said 23-year-old student Manuela Zepeda.

a group of people in a room: Members of an organization give out free condoms during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City © Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES Members of an organization give out free condoms during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City

"I tell men: if you want (sex), put it on," she added, while showing the female condom that she had just been given.

a group of people looking at a phone: A member of an organization gives out free condoms during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City © Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES A member of an organization gives out free condoms during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City

Daily HIV infections increased to 44 from 33 per day between 2017 and 2018, according to Mexico's National Centre for the Prevention and Control of HIV and AIDS (Censida).

A man wearing a condom costume is seen inside the metro on International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/CARLOS JASSO A man wearing a condom costume is seen inside the metro on International Condoms Day, celebrated a day before Valentine Day, in Mexico City

Lourdes Zamuro, a 63-year-old woman, took two strips.

a man standing in front of a crowd: A member of an organization holds a condom puppet during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES A member of an organization holds a condom puppet during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City

"These condoms are for my grandchildren," she said in front of her smiling husband, Adrian Carrera, 65.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A member of an organization gives out free condoms during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City © Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES A member of an organization gives out free condoms during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City

"Things were different before. We can't stop them having sex. Better to inform them and help them."

a group of people wearing costumes: Polo Gomez, also known as drag queen Yolanda la del Rio, from organization Condomovil A.C., poses for a selfie during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City © Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES Polo Gomez, also known as drag queen Yolanda la del Rio, from organization Condomovil A.C., poses for a selfie during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, in Mexico City

(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Robyn Jay standing in front of a crowd of people: Members of an organization explain how to wear a condom during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City

Members of an organization explain how to wear a condom during an event organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the International Condom Day, at a metro station in Mexico City
© Reuters/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES
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