Oddly Enough

Hotels told to provide condoms

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has ordered all hotels, holiday resorts and public showers to provide condoms, part of nationwide efforts to fight the spread of AIDS, a newspaper said on Friday.

The regulation, issued by the commerce and health ministries, also required pamphlets about AIDS prevention to be displayed, the Beijing News said.

The move follows an unusual step by the booming eastern province of Zhejiang in March to fine hotels and bars if they did not provide condoms.

China originally stigmatized AIDS as a disease of the decadent, capital West -- a problem of gays, sex workers and drug users. Traditionally, none of these officially existed in communist China.

It has belatedly woken up to the problem and health experts have warned the virus is now moving into the general population.

But a lack of sex education and unwillingness to talk about sex still hampers the fight, health experts say.