The National Health Security Office (NHSO) is gearing up to distribute almost 100 million condoms for free to subscribers of the 30-baht universal healthcare scheme who reach reproductive age this year.
NHSO secretary-general Jadej Thammatacharee said yesterday that gold card subscribers can sign up to receive their free condoms -- which will be distributed with lubricating gel -- through the Paotang application, starting from Feb 1.
The decision was taken as condoms are seen as an effective tool against unwanted pregnancies, as well as the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, as well as human papilloma virus infections, which can cause ovarian cancer.
Each eligible person will receive 10 condoms per week for an entire year, he said, adding the condoms are available in four sizes.
NHSO has prepared over 94.5 million condoms for distribution this year, Dr Jadej said.
Those who want to receive free condoms can register on the Paotang smartphone application, during which they can opt to receive the condoms at designated drugstores, community clinics or state-run health offices near where they live.
Those without access to a smartphone can register for their condoms at designated service outlets, by bringing a Thai national ID card.
The NHSO is also working with the public and private sectors to roll out condom vending machines at various locations to assist delivery for gold card holders who do not feel comfortable going to designated service outlets, he said.
"Automatic condom dispensing machines will be installed at three spots in Pattaya, Chon Buri, ahead of Valentine's Day on Feb 14. More machines will be installed in other parts of the country afterwards," Dr Jadej said.
He said authorities hoped the project will help promote the use of condoms across society and encourage sexually active individuals to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexual diseases.