FROM CONDOM HAIRBANDS TO CONDOM DRESSES
Condom Hair Bands
Imagine you walk into a salon to get your hair shampooed, cut and styled. You are given rubber hair bands to help keep your hair up and out of your face. Then you find out that these are not your typical hair bands. These hair bands are recycled…recycled used condoms. This is what happened to one disgusted Chen Wenlan from Dongguan, China after visiting her local hair salon. Wenlan says, “Many of my friends have not yet heard the news. And it is really terrible.”
Whoever had the idea of recycling used condoms may have had good intentions to help save the planet, but their methods were not exactly well thought out. The recycled used condoms have popped up all over China’s Pearl River Delta, including hair salons and local popular marketplaces. Unfortunately, these rubber hair bands are so inexpensive and so alluringly colorful that they have been selling very well. This poses a major health risk to both locals and shopping tourists.
Doctors from Pearl River Delta have issued warnings that these recycled condom hair bands could infect its users with sexually transmitted diseases like genital herpes and warts and HIV, especially when women place the rubber hair bands in their mouths while fixing their hair. Says one local dermatologist, “There are a lot of bacteria and viruses on the rubber bands and hair ties made from used condoms. People could be infected with AIDS, warts or other diseases.” One package of ten of these rubber hair bands goes for approximately 25 fen (or three US cents) at the marketplace, a steal for hair bands.
When I was browsing Google for some funny images, I came across some of these women who were wearing traditional Chinese high-necked dresses and holding colorful fans. Others were seen prancing down the runway in gorgeous billowy swimsuits. Then it hit me. Why were these fashions coming up on a condom image search? I looked closer at the different fashions I had just been admiring and realized they were all made from condoms! Even those colorful fans were fashioned from colorful condoms!
This condom-based attire was made for a fashion show which took place at China’s fourth annual Reproductive Health New Technologies & Products Expo in 2007. Each outfit was painstakingly made with various types of condoms of multiple colors. Even the lollipop props being held by the models were made from condoms. The show was sponsored by the leading Chinese manufacturer of condoms, Guilin Latex Factory. This fashion show was produced to endorse condom use and to push for an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has swept the globe.