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The New

A Case for Discretion

June 18, 1987

According to the advertisement, "you can be safe and discreet."

The Condom Case is exactly what it is named, a zippered leather pouch just the right size for carrying six condoms. It comes in three colors--black, gray or wine. Initials are stamped in gold lettering at no extra charge.

Belle Condo of Norwalk manufactures Condom Case, a departure from the company's usual offering of briefcases and address books. Paula Etra, the company's owner, said she envisioned this new product while conversing with her recently divorced brother.

"We were sitting around the dinner table discussing how to make our next million," Etra recalled. "We were talking about what's new in the world and what you have to worry about."

The Condom Case is one of several products that have hit the market in response to heightened public awareness of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. There are clothes with special pockets and key chains that will hold condoms.

Officials at AIDS Project L.A. said they have mixed emotions to these kinds of items.

"We're finding many people trying to make money off of it," said spokesman Andy Weisser about the marketing of products as a result of the AIDS scare. "But from an educational standpoint, it's great. The more people see condoms, the more they are talking about them, the more they may use condoms."

The Condom Case is available from Belle Condo by telephone or mail order only, although Etra said she hopes to have it in stores throughout Los Angeles soon.

The functional, stylish product has been on the market only a week, so it is too early to tell whether it will catch on, she said.

Condom Case costs $9.95 plus sales tax and $2 shipping. Condoms are not included.

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