The Shanghai administration has set up over 3,600 condom outlets in areas having high concentrations of migrant workers for distributing free contraceptives in a bid to promote safe sex in China's business capital.
Condoms and other contraceptives were previously only dispensed for free to locals holding a 'hukou', a permanent residency permit, through outlets in residential communities and hospitals.
Migrant workers had to pay for them either at stores or from condom vending machines installed on the city's streets.
Over the past two years, city officials have sought to make them more available in migrant communities in an effort to combat HIV/AIDS, as well as to respond to the call for migrant workers to receive equal treatment, the China Daily reports.
The municipal health figures show 886 new HIV cases in the city from January 1 to November 20, 2009, a 26.5 percent rise over the same period in the previous year.
According to Tang Qi, deputy director of Shanghai's condom distribution center, the city has set up these outlets to cater to the migrant population. Condoms are distributed free of cost in areas like construction sites, railway stations, in communities and at companies with a high proportion of migrant workers.
"As a result of the campaign, the number of free contraceptives used by migrant workers has surpassed that of locals," he said.
"Shanghai's move is part of a wider, national effort to promote safe sex among migrant workers and offer them the same contraceptive service that is available to locals," he added.