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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2004, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Vietnam gets first condom machine
Huynh Hong Ngoc, 29, tries out Vietnam's first condom vending machine at a beer garden restaurant in Hanoi, on Friday, July 9, 2004
Use of condoms in Vietnam is very low
Vietnam's first condom vending machine has been put into operation at a bar in the capital, Hanoi, as part of a national campaign to reduce HIV rates.

Correspondents say the use of condoms in Vietnam is low, partly due to the stigma of buying them, and a perception amongst men that they degrade virility.

Some 80,000 people have been diagnosed HIV-positive in Vietnam, according to official reports.

Independent experts say nearly four times as many are probably infected.

More condom dispensers are to be installed in bars, cafes and public toilets in Hanoi as the campaign continues.

"I am very surprised and curious to find out how it works - it's very useful thing to have," engineer Le Van Dy, 65, told Reuters news agency.

"This trade needs to be kept secret and done fast. It is very awkward to buy the stuff from pharmacies," he said.


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