A young woman in her late 20s who suffers from AIDS Wednesday inaugurated a unique bar cum discotheque at Chandigarh that has condoms as its theme.
Pooja Thakur, who discovered she had AIDS when her husband died of the disease in October 2005, said she was thrilled to be inaugurating the "condom bar" - said to be the country's first.
The unique bar has real condoms dotting the wall that stacks liquor bottles. Besides having souvenirs like cups, T-shirts and caps highlighting the use of condoms and safe sex, the bar even has a counter that offers free condoms.
It has been set up by the semi-government Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) in a unique gesture to show its commitment to a social cause.
"I am so happy that CITCO has taken the initiative to create awareness among people, especially youngsters, regarding HIV and AIDS. There is nothing like safe sex," Pooja said after inaugurating the bar here.
Pooja has two small sons, one of whom is also HIV positive.
"The attitude of people regarding patients suffering from AIDS has changed. That's why I am here inaugurating this bar. Had this situation been there earlier, even my husband would have got some treatment for the disease," said Pooja, who is now an AIDS activist.
Even female condoms are being offered freely at the bar - located at the beautiful Kalagram complex - similar to Dilli Haat - on the busy Chandigarh-Panchkula highway.
"We at CITCO thought that this was one social cause we could be attached with. There were some apprehensions earlier but the whole concept has come out beautifully," CITCO managing director Jasbir Singh Bir told IANS.
Chandigarh's AIDS control society project director Sonia Trikha appreciated the move by CITCO to spread awareness about the use of condoms through a regular bar.
"Those visiting the bar will not be under any compulsion to be part of this awareness campaign. But this is a positive beginning," Sonia said.