Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It's like selling guns on the street

Boys, pay attention here. Fines if you don't have a condom in your pocket, and death if your not caught without one. Just make sure your packing.

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) -- A western Colombian town has angered the influential Catholic Church with a novel scheme to cut AIDS infections, threatening males over age 14 with fines if they fail to carry a condom.

Young men in the community, most of whom start having sex at about age 15, according to a poll, should carry condoms just as they have to carry identification cards, Tulua town councilman William Pena told El Tiempo newspaper.

Those who fail to show a condom would have to pay a small fine or take a three-hour course in AIDS prevention in Tulua, where 14 people died of sexually transmitted diseases last year.

"This is a country with a lot of sexual activity and Tulua is no exception," Pena told El Tiempo. "This measure would not oblige anyone to have sex, only to protect themselves."

Father Jesus Velasquez of the local Catholic church said he wouldn't let the measure pass without a fight, comparing it to "selling guns in the streets."

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