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August 16, 2004

Talk about Innovation

Boing Boing reports that out of 1.5 billion condoms distributed freely in the Indian subcontinent to combat HIV, only a quarter are being used properly. Of the remaining 75%, they were used for;

According to two university reports, rural villagers have used them as disposable water containers to wash, after relieving themselves in the fields. India's military have covered gun and tank barrels with condoms as protection against dust. Of the 891 million condoms meant to be handed out free, a considerable proportion were acquired by road-building contractors who mixed them with concrete and tar and used the mixture to construct roads, rendering road surfaces smooth and resistant to cracks. Builders spread a bed of condoms beneath cement plastering on roofs, ingeniously preventing water seepage during the monsoon rains.

Weavers in Varanasi used around 200,000 condoms a day to lubricate their looms and to polish the gold and silver thread used to embroider the saris they produced. Sari maker Yusuf Bhai said they purchased the condoms from agents, who reportedly acquired them from agencies involved

I don't know whether to admire their ingenuity or be mad at their stupidity in the face of an epidemic.

Update: Godless points out in the comments that the threat of HIV to the Indian subcontinent is overblown. OK, but you have to admit that the original reason the program was begun, to curb overpopulation, is still a valid concern for the Indian government.

Posted by scottm at 10:56 PM