Beds, Herts & Bucks

HIV charity puts condoms on St Albans Christmas tree

Condom Christmas tree Image copyright The Crescent
Image caption Free condoms, inside their wrappers and further wrapping, are hanging on a tree outside The Crescent's offices in Russell Avenue, St Albans

A voluntary HIV support organisation has decorated an outdoor Christmas tree with condoms for people to "help themselves" over the festive period.

Free condoms are hanging on the tree at The Crescent's offices in Russell Avenue, St Albans.

Iain Murtagh from the charity said it was a "prevention and awareness exercise" with symbolic red ribbons also adorning the tree.

"When everything else is closed, people know that they can come here," he said.

'Much appreciated'

The Crescent has been a dedicated centre, providing support and care for people living with HIV, their partners, families and friends for 30 years.

It has been wholly funded by public donations since 2011, when Hertfordshire County Council withdrew its grant.

Image copyright The Crescent
Image caption Like other festive decorations, the tree will be up until Twelfth Night

People can normally just walk into the centre and collect free condoms but over the festive period they may not be as accessible.

Like other festive decorations, the tree will be up until Twelfth Night.

"Judgement is often blurred if you've been out partying and it's important people [enjoy themselves] in a safe way," Mr Murtagh said.

"Prevention is the key not just to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, but also to unwanted pregnancies."

He said staff will "refill it regularly" throughout the holiday period and it was a service that was "very much appreciated".

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