Thailand’s ‘King of Condoms’ Takes Light-Hearted Approach to AIDS Prevention
Ten years after the Thai government launched its national AIDS prevention campaign, Mi Chi Veravidea, known as the country's "King of Condoms," is "making a difference in the fight against AIDS" through his Cabbages and Condoms Restaurants, where condoms are served instead of after dinner mints and guests can view the world's largest collection of brand-name condoms displayed on the walls, Public Radio International's "The World" reports. All of Vervidea's restaurant proceeds fund Thai social development programs. Explaining how he developed the concept behind "cabbages and condoms," Veravidea said, "Our point was that if family planning was going to succeed, contraception has to be as easily found and as accessible as vegetables in villages." Although Veravidea incorporates humor into the "sometimes taboo" topic of safe sex education, he acknowledges that the health problems behind the condoms are "anything but silly." Veravidea said, "It's a matter of national survival ... It's a disaster that you're facing. So far we have a million of HIV-positive Thais, more than the entire history of Thais who have died in wars. Extremely serious, but the way you go about it is to make sure you succeed. Don't be clinical about it. Don't speak from a pulpit. Do it in a way that people listen, remember and participate." The full audio report is available online (PRI, "The World," 8/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.