Free at Rio Olympics: 9 million forest-friendly condoms

Updated: 2016-07-05 10:11


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Free at Rio Olympics: 9 million forest-friendly condoms

Condoms, produced with natural rubber extracted from the Seringueira tree, are tested at Natex male condoms plant in Xapuri, Acre state, Brazil, June 23, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Brazil's government will hand out 9 million condoms for free around Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics in August, a push meant to encourage safe sex and also defend the Amazon rainforest.

Rio's local Olympic organizing committee said about 450,000 of the sustainably-produced condoms will be destined for athletes and staff housed in the Olympic Village.

The rest will be made widely available to the many visitors who will be arriving in the city in just a few weeks, the Health Ministry said.

All the condoms to be distributed are produced by Natex, a factory in the western Amazonian state of Acre, deep in the rainforest near Brazil's border with Bolivia.

The factory, run by the Acre state government, uses latex gathered from Amazon rubber trees by tappers who are employed by a government-run program designed to protect their traditional livelihood, foster sustainable use of the rainforest and deter illegal loggers.

For several years Brazil's Health Ministry has distributed millions of condoms from the factory for free at big events around Brazil - most notably the annual bacchanal of Carnival.