Monday, March 08, 2010

Philippine bishops demand ban on condom ads

Bishops in the predominantly Catholic Philippines called for a total ban on condom advertisements on Wednesday as an ongoing tussle over contraceptives flared again.

The influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a resolution saying that condoms do not protect against AIDS, despite advice to the contrary by health officials and activists, as well as international medical opinion.

The resolution "On the Government?s Revitalized Promotion of Condoms" seeks a ban on condom advertisements in newspapers and magazines and on radio and television.

"The condom cannot really put a stop to AIDS. Moreover, by creating a false sense of security, it condones and encourages promiscuity outside of marriage, and hence contributes to the further spread of AIDS," the resolution said.

It comes after Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral distributed condoms just before Valentines Day this year to educate people about the threat of HIV-AIDS.

Last month, the bishops called on the government to sack Cabral for distributing the condoms but Manila shrugged off the demand.

About 75 million Filipinos, out of a national population of 93 million, are Catholics, a legacy of the country's Spanish colonial past.

The Roman Catholic Church disallows the use of artificial contraceptives like condoms, even for preventing the spread of disease.

Health Department records say there are 629 confirmed cases of HIV-AIDS in the country but experts say many cases go unreported.

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