Health officials in western India are distributing condoms outside cinema halls screening illegal pornographic films, to promote safe sex and curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.
Officials in Gujarat state said many of those watching the blue movies were from high risk groups such as migrant laborers or truck drivers, who spend a lot of time away from their homes and are therefore more vulnerable to casual and unsafe sex.
“The migrant population will not stop watching pornographic movies or visiting sex workers,” said H.K. Anant, a health official in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s main city.
“All we want them to do is to stop unsafe sex.”
India has the world’s highest number of HIV-positive cases with an estimated 5.7 million people infected, according to the United Nations.
In Gujarat’s 800 small cinema halls, young male volunteers stand outside handing packets of condoms to audience members as they emerge after watching the movie.
“We do not want to embarrass the moviegoers by nabbing them, so the volunteers are instructed not interact or question them,” said Anant.
Gujarat is home to many large industries such as textiles and chemicals, employing more than eight million migrant workers who come from neighboring states in search of a better life.
Screening and selling of pornographic films is illegal but the law is rarely enforced.