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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