Many young Vietnamese do not feel comfortable buying condoms at a drug store or supermarket, and six university students in Da Nang want to change that.
They have invented a simple but effective machine that can be installed on the street to distribute condoms for free, all with just a press of the button.
The dispenser is a small steel box with a screen showing the number of remaining condoms, a slot to collect condoms, a speaker that says thank you, and another slot if anyone wants to make a donation.
It can be plugged to a power source or runs on its own battery, with memory card storing all activities including the time each condom is doled out.
The six electronics students from Da Nang’s Duy Tan University said they started the project in October and have finished making four dispensers.
Need a condom? Just press the button. Photo credit: Van Anh/VnExpress
They installed one outside a youth organization office on Hoang Dieu Street last week. It has distributed more than 200 condoms since.
“That means there’s a huge public interest,” Nguyen Cong Tin, a member of the team, told news website VnExpress.
Tin said the dispenser is their community project under a school contest and they chose it because many young people in Vietnam are reluctant to buy condoms. Many would wear face mask and take it in a black plastic bag.
Vietnam, where sex remains a taboo, has one of the highest abortion rates worldwide. Sexually transmitted infections affect a large number of Vietnamese, with estimates ranging from 300,000 to a staggering 2 million cases a year.
Nguyen Van Long, a city local, praised the idea as “valuable” as it creates a venue where people “can get rid of their embarrassment when buying a condom.”