Condom machines upset Taiwan park-goers

  • ASEAN+
  • Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003

TAIPEI: Park frequenters in Taiwan yesterday lashed out at the government for allowing the installation of four vending machines which sell condoms at a recreation spot here notorious for its gay sexual activity. 

“It would only encourage more irresponsible sexual activities and damage the image of Taiwan,” said Chen Li-fang, a spokesman for a local veterans' club. 

Chen's criticism came after Taipei Venereal Disease Control Institute erected Monday four condom machines at Taipei 228 Park to prevent the spread of AIDS. 

The installation of one of the four machines next to a men's public washroom sparked concern from a number of people doing morning exercises in the park. 

“The park is already polluted by those irresponsible and illegal activities, and the installation of the machines would only provide people engaged in those activities more convenience,” said a senior citizen, who declined to be identified. 

The park has for years been one of the popular spots for gay men, who often meet in the men's room despite frequent police crackdowns. 

But, health officials said the condom machines were necessary to help reduce the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. 

“We absolutely have no intention to link gay sex with AIDS, as data has showed that close to 50% of heterosexuals here have contracted the deadly disease, up from the 44% found among gay people,” a spokesman of the institute said. 

She said a number of young people in Taiwan were active in sexual activities but were ignorant of sex knowledge. 

“People with traditional morality concept should not make a big deal over the issue, as the rubbers not only can help young people reduce the chance of unwanted pregnancy, but can also help reduce venereal diseases,” she said. – dpa  

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