Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Condom Kingdom - How Rubber-growing Thailand Became the No. 1 Exporter of Prophylactic Devices in the World.

From Fortune magazine's August 7, 2006 issue:

"Making condoms is such a sensitive operation that a single speck of dust can cause an imperfection. So workers in separate testing rooms also sample each batch for consistency and strength, inflating the condoms until they explode with party-like pops and stretching them until they snap.

"We can't use men to do this work," explains Surakait Kasemsuwan, production manager at the factory, which is owned by Britain's SSL International (Charts), makers of the Durex brand. "We tried men, but they get bored and tired, and they injure themselves. Those mandrels don't stop. This is a 24/7 process."

People actually manage to injure themselves whilst testing condoms? What do they do - try to slip them over their heads and blow bubbles??!!

On a more serious note, the article goes on to describe how the condom manufacturing industry in Thailand helped reduce the high number of HIV-positive people in the country.

Another factor in the growth of Thailand's condom industry has been domestic demand. To combat the country's AIDS epidemic, the government started distributing millions of free condoms in 1991 to encourage safe sex and reduce HIV transmission.

By 1996, according to a United Nations study, 97% of Thailand's commercial sex workers reported that they always used condoms, compared with 14% in 1989. Thailand's campaign dramatically reduced HIV rates and became a much-lauded model for the world."

No comments: