Thousands of Condoms Returned To Washington, D.C

Community groups in the United States capital returned last week up to 70,000 condoms given away earlier this year as part of a city program aiming to reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. According to reports, these condoms were returned due to complaints that the paper packing could make the condoms ineffective. The city’s HIV/AIDS Administration has an additional 350,000 of the program’s city-brand condoms that were never distributed.

District health officials distributed in February these condoms as part of the Department of Health’s STI prevention campaign. The first batch of condoms went to several non-profit organizations and community health providers. The department said it aimed to distribute one million condoms by the end of 2007.

However, concerns about the condoms arose almost immediately after the program began. Demand at distribution sites dropped by at least 80% shortly after the condoms were introduced. Volunteers said people complained about the condom packets that rips in purses or bursting open in pockets, and some recipients said they lacked the confidence that the condoms would provide protection. It is also reported that some of the condoms’ expirations dates were illegible. City health official said that the condoms have met federal and industry standards for packaging and manufacturing.

Despite their announcement, health officials announced last month that they will phase out its city-brand condoms and use branded ones instead. About 350,000 Trojan condoms are being donated to the city in an effort to maintain the program. Shipments totaling 400,000 more condoms are expected in the next two weeks and deliveries should begin within days, a spokesperson said.

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