Shanghai launches smartphone app to help users to find out where to get free condoms

Updated: 12 Jul 2013
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The city's family planning commission released a smartphone application Thursday that allows residents to find out where they can pick up free condoms and birth control nearby.

With the application, residents can locate any of the city's 5,700 free contraceptive distribution points within a 1-kilometer radius of their location, according to a press release from the Shanghai Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission.

The application targets the city's sexually active, tech-savvy youth, said Jiang Wei, vice director of the Shanghai Medicine and Instrument Administration Center for Family Planning. "The measure aims to make more young people aware of their responsibilities to their partners, themselves and their families," Jiang told the Global Times.

Jiang said the application can usually identify 20 to 30 nearby distribution points if the user is downtown. It lists each location's address, contact information, hours and the types of contraceptives available there.

The distribution points are usually located in neighborhood committee offices and community health centers. The commission plans to put them in more public places after the end of summer.

"Because it is difficult to store condoms in areas where the temperature is above 30 C, we will wait until the weather cools down before we start to distribute contraceptives in areas such as entertainment venues, companies and shopping malls," she said.

Visitors can get condoms with no questions asked, Jiang said. Those who want other types of contraceptives may be asked for some personal information because certain kinds of birth control can cause side effects in women over the age of 40.

Jiang said there is no need to worry about the quality of the condoms at the distribution points. "The quality of the free condoms is as good as those from well-known foreign brands," she said. "Every batch has been carefully inspected."

The commission also plans to use the application to educate users about safe sex, such as how to properly put on a condom, Jiang said. It conducted a trial for the application in April in Yangpu district, where many universities are located.

Although the commission said the application received a positive response, it did not disclose how many condoms were distributed.

The application is available for Google Android and Apple iOS devices.

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