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International News

Condom Opponents Disappoint Anti-HIV/AIDS Campaigners in Tanzania

December 17, 2003

On Dec. 11, Brad Lucas, executive director of Population Services International in Tanzania, told a media seminar that it was disappointing to see some people, including senior clerics, claim that condoms promote promiscuity. "There is no study which has so far proved that the use of condoms is linked to increased sexual activity," he said.

Lucas noted that his institution's philosophy in promoting condoms is that consistent and correct condom use is the best protection against HIV, although he pointed out that "delay of sexual debut should be the first line of defense in promoting protective behavior among the young people."

PSI, with support of various bodies including the World Health Organization, conducts social marketing for preventive health products such as condoms, insecticide-treated nets and contraceptives.

Lucas was not the only activist speaking out. Herman Lupogo, chair of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) said it sounded strange to hear people, including highly reputable clerics, say that all condoms are defective.

Another TACAIDS commissioner, Reginald Mengi, said, "These people are disapproving condoms on the grounds that they are not effective preventive tools, with some of them even suggesting that antiretroviral drugs should not be trusted." He added, "These people have no technical knowledge of what they are saying. Their ignorant utterances contradict the knowledgeable opinions of technical experts and even that of the WHO."

TACAIDS estimated that 7-10 percent of Tanzania's 34.5 million population has HIV. Government authorities in the country's semi-autonomous Indian Ocean islands Zanzibar and Pemba estimate the HIV infection rate is 5 percent.

"Some clerics in Zanzibar strongly resist promotion of condoms out of religious beliefs. Condoms are not easily available in shops and retail outlets in Zanzibar streets," said Gastor Lyaruu, coordinator of Salama brand condoms promotion with PSI.

Back to other news for December 17, 2003

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse
12.13.03; John Kulekana

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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