June 22, 2009
CVS Criticized for Condom Lockup in Communities of Color
Change to Win, a coalition of labor unions, believes that CVS’s practice of locking up condoms at certain stores—commonly in communities of color—creates a barrier to access for young people who are less likely to ask a store associate for them, The Tennessean reports. The group asserts that CVS’s anti-theft policy puts those communities at risk for unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
By surveying more than 2,200 CVS drug stores nationwide, the labor group found that, in nine of the 19 markets where prophylactics are kept under lock and key, the company was at least three times more likely to lock up condoms in communities of color than in predominantly white neighborhoods.
“We do know from studies that free access to condoms cuts down on sexually transmitted infections,” said Neerav Desai, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “For someone that has any hesitation about use, this could be another reason for them not to use condoms.”
CVS says that the practice is done solely to deter shoplifting and that stores where the condoms are locked up also have some available in the open.
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comments 16 - 23 (of 23 total)
nikki, philadelphia, 2009-06-23 17:11:40
I don't see what the fuss is about. If you want condoms just ask for them. Sometimes you have to take measures to prevent theft. People need to protest health insure, not condemn being locked behind a case.
Gary, Washington DC, 2009-06-23 15:49:03
This was a disheartening article. I live neighborhood that is very mixed with many nationalities, very affluent and poverty level residents, gay straight and bisexual. The condoms are locked up in my local neighborhood and I very definitely took it to be an issue of theft - NOT RACE. I believe we should make a greater effort to make condoms available so theft doesn't need to be an issue.
Tom Mullen, Ft. Lauderdale, 2009-06-23 14:59:07
The fact that CVS has condoms available that aren't locked up makes the criticism moot and unwarranted. Additionally, without including crime statistics, it may be that CVS' policy takes place in communities with high theft rates and a coincidence they're also Communities of Color.
Tyler, Penna, 2009-06-23 13:49:05
I'm a security officer. What is wrong with CVS locking up a "hot" item known to be a theft risk? If you bleeding hearts at POZ.com don't like CVS's tactics, why don't YOU supply CVS w/ FREE condoms! Stop trying to cause a racial issue here and other trouble- making bs. Stealing is against the law. Isn't it in one of the 10 Commandents? Two thumbs up to CVS for protecting their stuff. As far as sex is concerned...every man is responsible for himself! Grow up!
Irene, Shreveport, La, 2009-06-23 12:05:03
Free access are the key words in the study done in Nashville. Perhaps more needs to be done to make free condoms more available to the communities of color. CVS shouldn't have to be the one's to provide that service. Maybe Change to Win could do more to publicize more places where free access to condoms are available.
Bill, California, 2009-06-23 11:42:35
Oh P-a-le-e-e-e-e-ase! If this group is so concerned about youth's fear of asking for condoms in those alleged stores, then why doesn't "Change to Win" provide free condoms at CVS' check-out counters like HIV orgs do for their clients??
Granted, condoms aren't cheap so people steal them in economically distressed areas, hence CVS' lock-up policy in those markets.
There are more important issues facing America than worrying about CVS' condom lockup policies!!!
Jeton Ademaj, chelsea, NYC, 2009-06-23 10:29:35
I've seen the website, and they have some legitimate complaints about CVS. However, it's unfortunate that they decided to use CVS' basic loss-prevention strategy as their main rallying point, because it cynically exploits charges of racism while ultimately diluting the sting of such a charge. When bloggers scream "give the condoms away free!", most normal people see nothing more than a shakedown...
R. Shackleford, , 2009-06-23 00:24:29
comments 16 - 23 (of 23 total)
An anti-theft policy prevents access? How? To the people who steal them, maybe. The items are still available to anyone who wants to purchase them. Is "Change To Win" going to complain next about locked-up razors "impeding access to well trimmed facial hair"?
"Change to win" is merely a mouthpiece for unionizers. If they want to generate more unions that's fine, but they should have a sense of decency and not try to invoke moral panic over nothing.
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