in Washington, D.C., say drugstores in the district that
lock condoms in cabinets that must be opened for customers
by store workers, such as the CVS pharmacy chain, are
hampering HIV prevention efforts by discouraging
condom use, The Washington Post reports. A
survey showed that 22 of CVS's 50 drugstores in the
D.C. area placed condoms in locked cabinets to prevent
theft. Most of those 22 outlets were in poorer
neighborhoods that have high rates of HIV, sexually
transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancies, according
to the analysis.
Condoms also were
found to be locked up at Safeway, Giant, and
Shopper's Food & Pharmacy Warehouse stores
in the district.
barriers [to contraception] already
exist--particularly for minority populations,"
Nestor Rocha, director of the disease prevention and
health promotion division of the Whitman-Walker Clinic,
told the Post. "To add that someone has to ask
for [condoms] out loud in front of other customers is simply
making it so that people who could benefit from the
use of condoms will not."
But while health
officials worry that making condoms difficult to obtain
will only further fuel the district's already
disproportionately high HIV rate, conservative groups
pushing abstinence encourage making condoms more
difficult for youths to obtain. Citizens for Community
Values "applauds adding steps to buying
condoms," reports the Post.
The HIV rate in
D.C. is 10 times the national average, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 5%
of the district's 500,000 residents are
HIV-positive; about 2% have been diagnosed with AIDS.