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Homearrow News and Events Year 2010 Cabral okays warning on condom packages - Manila Bulletin

Cabral okays warning on condom packages - Manila Bulletin

Health Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral remains undaunted despite calls from church leaders to drop the Department of Health (DoH) campaign on the use of condoms to avoid HIV/AIDS.

She has agreed, however, on their suggestion to place government warnings on the packages of condoms that will inform people on the possible weakness of condoms against diseases and HIV/AIDS.

Similar to warnings on cigarette packages and alcoholic drinks, the bishops suggested for Condom packages to bear a warning of the weakness of Condom to protect against sexually transmitted infections.

“It is actually not a bad idea. I share no objection since the consumers must be well-informed,” Cabral said in an interview as she offered her own approach to the idea that will give “full disclosure” on the capabilities of the Condom.

“I think it should be: ‘Condoms are 85 percent effective for the prevention of HIV/AIDS when used consistently and correctly and 95 percent effective for unwanted pregnancies.”

The health department has consistently received criticisms from the church after the controversial distribution of condoms at the Dimasalang flower market in Manila last month.

Health officials maintained it is meant mainly to curb the growing number of HIV/AIDS victims in the country which now stand at 4,567 covering confirmed cases beginning in 1984 up to January, 2010.

Catholic Bishops the other day also called for a total ban of Condom advertisements in all forms of media.

But Cabral said it is outside her mandate to call for a ban on the Condom.

“We cannot ban condoms because that is already something that infringes on free trade. Condoms are not harmful. We can only regulate harmful devices,” the health official explained.

Meanwhile, pro-life groups will hold a rally next week where they will announce the candidates they are supporting in the elections.

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AIDS-free Philippines and Human Life international Pilipinas Executive Director Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer said the over 100 pro-life leaders will meet in Cebu on Monday for the National pro-life leaders’ summit. He said they will support candidates who subscribe to the pro-life stand.

“We would also like to ask for the banning of indiscriminate distribution of condoms, indiscriminate display and sale of condoms including in the market place and we would like to ask the FDA to put a warning, similar to cigarettes…it is not a one hundred percent guarantee that it can protect you against HIV and AIDS,” he said in a conference in Makati City last Thursday.

“This is a fight not between the church and the government but this is a fight between good and evil,” Dr. Ligaya A. Acosta, Executive Director Human Life Asia/Oceania said.

Acosta, who was formerly a program manager of the Natural Family Planning program of the DoH and also the information and education manager for AIDS and STD of the DoH said that the countries with a 100 percent condom use program are actually those that have a high rate of HIV/AIDS.

“They are always using Thailand as an example, Thailand went on 100 percent condom use program… from 112 cases of HIV/AIDS in 1987, today there have more than 1.3 million cases of HIV/AIDS. You have to know that in Thailand, condoms arrive by the shipload. The same thing happened in Cambodia.

“In Cambodia, they also went into a 100 percent condom-use program. What happened, from only 14 cases in 1994, it rose to more than 16,000 in 2001,” she said. “The fact is countries with the highest rate of condom availability have the world’s highest AIDS rates like Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Kenya, Thailand, and Cambodia.”

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