The Nigerian state of Anambra recently banned the promotion and distribution of what it calls "unnatural" contraceptives, including condoms, IRIN News reports. "Instead of teaching children how to use condoms and enjoy sex, they should be taught total abstinence," Amobi Ilika, the state commissioner for health, said when announcing the ban late last month. He added that the "use of condoms has greatly encouraged immorality."
Some HIV/AIDS and family planning advocates have expressed concerns about the ban, according to IRIN. "I don't think it's the right step," public affairs analyst Alphonsus Ofodile said, adding, "Even if you ban the use of condoms, people will still have sex. So why would a responsible government want to discourage safe sex?" Condoms are available throughout other parts of Nigeria in part because the government has partnered with health organizations to implement programs to distribute and sell them. In addition, several religious groups in the country have expressed support for condom use. According to IRIN, the ban in Anambra might have been "designed to appeal to local evangelical groups." Ofodile said that Anambra has a history of political instability and violence, adding that the ban is a "desperate attempt to uphold morals" (IRIN News, 4/7).
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