MEXICO CITY – Missing in Mexico: 5,000 condoms, sound equipment and a motor used to inflate a giant prophylactic, all stolen from a "condom-mobile" used to promote HIV/AIDS awareness.
The coordinator of an HIV/AIDS awareness tour, Polo Gomez, said the truck was taken Sunday from its parking spot in front of a friend's house in Mexico City.
It was recovered Wednesday in a shopping mall parking lot in a northern suburb - minus the condoms and the equipment. Gomez said the thieves left some 800 HIV tests and a 23-foot inflatable prophylactic, which were also in the vehicle.
The truck wasn't hard to locate. It features painted images of a peeled banana, the exposed part shaped like a condom, and a shirtless man saying: "I protect myself. Do you?"
After the theft received widespread media coverage, residents phoned police with the vehicle's whereabouts, Gomez said.
The Condomovil program has toured Mexico since 1998 promoting safe sex practices while distributing 1.2 million condoms to more than 700,000 people, Gomez said. The inflatable condom was used to draw attention from passers-by.
The group bought the truck with a grant from Mexico's federal Health Department. The department also donated the 5,000 condoms that were stolen.
The United Nations AIDS program says there are some 200,000 people living with HIV in Mexico.