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Übercast: Better World

Mechai Viravaidya

Mechai Viravaidya

In 1991, when the annual number of new HIV cases in Thailand reached 143,000 per annum, it was predicted that 4 million Thais would be infected by the turn of the century. Twelve years later the annual number of new infections had dropped to just 19,000, and Thailand was being held up as a model for how to conquer HIV/AIDS.

The man who drove that change was Mechai Viravaidya, aka The Condom King. With newspaper and TV reporters at his side, he distributed condoms in restaurants and red light districts, built a resort called ‘Birds and Bees’, where condoms could be found nestling in the mini-bar, and led condom-blowing championships for school teachers and their students.

In Thailand these days, condoms are known as ‘mechais’

"Contraceptives have to be as easily found as vegetables"

Watch Mechai Viravaidya: How Mr. Condom made Thailand a better place

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