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At a time when most Thais avoided discussing safe sex and family planning, Mechai Viravaidya promoted condom use in a national campaign with spectacle and humor, saving millions of lives. "It wasn’t a job for intelligent people, smart people," he says now.

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Twice he saw Thailand in desperate trouble — first from a ruinous population explosion and then from the AIDS epidemic — and both times, Mechai Viravaidya responded to the crises the same way: with condoms and his own considerable charisma.

Despite or perhaps because of his M.B.A. from Harvard, Mechai Mechai took it upon himself to become the recognizable symbol every successful marketing program needs, dubbing himself “Captain Condom” and going to schools and night clubs to promote safe sex.

In a country where most people were uneasy discussing sex, Mechai Viravaidya pushed the conversation out into the open. Thanks to his efforts, Thailand became one of the first countries to achieve a decline in HIV infections:

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@keithrichburg @IvanCNN  Check out our visit there a decade a go for @bizarrefoods  Epic lunch with Mechai

@mechai09 This is one of our favorites! Thank you for choosing ALEX AND ANI. (+)

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