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Are You a Durian Lover?

Indonesian Condom Producer Debuts Durian-Flavored Prophylactics.

(6/16/2003) Durians: You either love them or you hate them.

Considered the very pinnacle of tropical fruits by many, durian aficionados readily admit that the spiked fruit "tastes like heaven, but smells like hell."

In fact, those uninitiated into the culinary mysteries of the Durio zibanthinus inadvertently walking past a road side stand selling the pungent fruit often mistakenly believe they have stumbled into an area of road-kill in an advance stage of decomposition.

British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who spent years exploring Indonesia, thought the taste of the durian was a defining experience, sufficient justification on its own for traveling to Asia. Its admirers describe its bouquet as a blend of fruit punch, fried onions and old socks; those less charitable liken it to custard passed through a sewer.

Suffice it to say, the love of durian is an acquired taste.

What's Love Got to Do with It?

The launch of durian-flavored condoms in Indonesia this past week has given a whole new meaning to the term "durian-lover."

Distributed by DKT-Indonesia - a non-governmental foundation, the durian- flavored "Sutra" Condom sold a record-setting 150,000 condoms in the first week of their introduction to the local market. DKT-Indonesia efforts on behalf of HIV-prevention and family planning has resulted in the distribution of some 37 million condoms, 1.5 million oral contraceptives and 5.1 million injection-based contraceptives in Indonesia in 2002 alone.

According to a report in the local press, the durian-flavored condoms are produced in Malaysia and sell in Indonesia for Rp. 4,000 (approximately US$ 0.50) for a packet of three.