Anti-Aids group hands out free condoms to teach youth about safe sex

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 May, 2014, 4:14am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

Young clubbers can now get free condoms as part of an anti-Aids campaign that aims to promote safe sex among the youth.

Condoms wrapped in cute, colourful packaging are distributed to party-goers by Aids Concern social workers, who visit the participating pubs once or twice a week.

Aids Concern programme manager Jim Hoe described the response to the campaign, launched at Christmas, as "unexpectedly good".

"At first, we thought the pubs might be rather reluctant to take part," Hoe said. "But the response turned out to be unexpectedly good. They rather welcomed us. The young people there are rather approachable too."

Hoe said the social workers distributing the condoms were not there to give the youths lectures on sex education.

"We hand out colourful packs of condoms … packed like a matchbox," Hoe said.

"You won't feel embarrassed keeping one in your pocket. And there are guidelines inside the packaging to teach you how to use it."

Occasionally, the Aids Concern group would also host parties in pubs to promote education about sexuality.

The "clubbing outreach" is conducted at least five times a month and social workers will stay in the club for about two to three hours each time, the group's spokeswoman said.

Recently, three more clubs joined the scheme. The group is also in talks with a company that owns eight bars in Kowloon and the New Territories.

The campaign was prompted after an Aids Concern study showed a widespread lack of knowledge about safe sex among young people.

A poll of some of those seeking help at the group's Yau Ma Tei health service centre in 2011-12 showed that about half of 112 young people aged from 14 to 21 did not use condoms while having sex. This compared with 11.3 per cent for the 450 sex workers surveyed.

The 2012-13 figures showed 40.5 per cent of the 121 young people polled did not use condoms, while the percentage for the 111 sex workers polled was 5.4.