A labor coalition is sponsoring a petition calling on CVS to stop locking up condoms, the Kansas City Star reports. More than 200 groups across the country have signed the appeal to stop the practice, which the mega-chain says is an anti-shoplifting measure but critics say scares off would-be shoppers. The policy is a particular problem in areas with large poor and minority populations, notes a signer, because of African-American communities’ high rate of new HIV cases.
The Star found that local CVS stores that kept condoms locked were in areas where an average of 25.9% of households were below the poverty line in 2000, when the national poverty rate was 8.2%. Meanwhile, stores that left the condoms unlocked were in areas where the poverty rate averaged 8%. Nine of the stores were in areas with above-average African-American population levels; eight of those locked their condoms. CVS said condoms were locked in places where many were stolen.