Packed in brightly-coloured packets decorated with truck art, a new brand of condoms will soon be doing the rounds across India. In collaboration with supply chain company TCI Foundation and communications agency Rediffusion, Tata Motors is now promoting the Dipper condom to promote safe sex among Indian truckers. The name of the condom is inspired by the line all of us have seen written across trucks – Use Dipper At Night. Even though the phrase is meant for vehicles to flash their beam at the trucks to make them aware of their presence, it is now being used as advertising for the condom.
For most of us, truckers on Indian highways are a menace. They’re the cause of late night traffic jams and dangerous driving on the roads. What we don’t realise is that they are human too, and the job that they do is something none of us would be able to endure. They lead lonely lives when they’re on the road for weeks at a stretch. To fight the loneliness, many truckers visit sex workers on their routes. However, many sex workers in these areas are carriers of deadly infections which puts the truckers also at high risk. Some of them contract these infections and pass them on to unsuspecting partners later.
In 2011, around 2.59% of the population of truckers and migrant workers were HIV positive, according to the National Aids Control Organisation. This may seem like a small number but when compared to prevalence of HIV in the rest of the population, which is about 0.26%, it is shockingly high. As the video for the campaign suggests, condoms are difficult to find on highway routes. However, with the rollout of the Dipper condom, this problem may be solved.