Posted April 8, 2008 – The government in one Nigerian state has banned citizens from promoting condom use, despite the fact that the number of those infected with HIV/AIDS in the nation continues to rise each year reports allAfrica.com.
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“Instead of teaching children how to use condoms, to enjoy sex, they should be taught total abstinence,” Amobi Ilika, Anambra’s state commissioner for health, said when he publicized the ban in late March, adding that using condoms promotes immorality.
The use and promotion of other contraceptives, such as intrauterine devices and “unnatural” birth control have also been banned. But many family planning and AIDS support groups say the ban just doesn’t make sense.
“Even if you ban the use of condoms, people will still have sex,” Alphonsus Ofodile, a public affairs analyst said. “So why would a responsible government want to discourage safe sex?”
In Nigeria, with the federal government’s support, condoms are readably available and are their use is advocated on billboards and through public service announcements. Even religious groups, seeing that an abstinence-only approach has been ineffective, support condom use, reports the news service.
Ofodile sees the state’s move as a sad attempt to “score a cheap political point” with its more conservative citizens. Anambra, he says, has a violent past rife with political instability and is using this to make “a desperate attempt to uphold morals,” he said.
No word yet on how the state plans to discipline stores and pharmacies selling condoms.
There are currently more than 3 million people living with either HIV or AIDS in the west African nation, reports allAfrica.com, which amounts to almost 4 percent of the adult population, according to an estimate by a United Nations program in 2006. That number is going up about 300,000 people each year.