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April 15, 2009

East LA Activists Target CVS Over Condom Policy

Protesters in East Los Angeles are urging a local CVS to change its policy of storing condoms in a locked display case behind the counter, the Los Angeles Times reports. They say condoms are only locked behind counters in black and Latino communities—the two minority groups hardest hit by HIV/AIDS in the United States.

“Our surveyors found that condoms were only locked up in communities of color, like the Eastside,” said Gina Bowers, a spokesperson for Change to Win, a labor group organizing protests at the Lincoln Heights store. “When we went to the Westside of LA, where the communities are largely white, the stores have condoms for sale and out in the open. So all we’re asking for is equal access to these products for customers no matter where they live.”

CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis affirms that locking up the prophylactics has nothing to do with the ethnicity of store customers. “If a store has been heavily shoplifted, then it will put targeted items in a locked display case,” he said. “Sometimes that means fragrances or razors are locked in a display case; sometimes it’s condoms.”

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