Posted by Condom Depot on 05/23/2005
A Mexican government ministry is pushing for the installation of condom machines in secondary schools in less affluent areas to stem a surge in teenage pregnancies, a scheme unlikely to find favor with the Roman Catholic church.
A new study commissioned by the Social Development Ministry found that 15 percent of adolescent girls in deprived areas were pregnant, local media reported. Mexico does not produce national teenage pregnancy figures.
"Statistics show that secondary school is when most people start having sex," ministry spokesman Andreas Solis said on Monday. "Promoting the use of condoms is an urgent necessity."
The study found half of adolescents in areas with high poverty rates use no protection when they start having sex and that 20 percent had sexually transmitted infections.
The study, which was confined to economically deprived areas, was carried out by the U.S. University of California, Berkeley, and Mexico's national health institute. It had not been made public but was leaked to the daily newspaper Reforma.
The condom machine proposal would have to be approved by the Education Ministry and was expected to face firm opposition from parents' groups and church officials. Mexicans are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.
"It would implant sexual promiscuity because young people, believing they were protected, would be sexually irresponsible," Guillermo Bustamante, head of the national parents' group, told Reforma.
Solis said the problem was urgent.
"The problem starts at home because parents are reluctant to talk about the subject. As a mainly Catholic society, the theme of sin comes before the theme of health," Solis said.
"Many teachers avoid the subject because sadly they don't have the ability or knowledge necessary to educate on this."
The idea of distributing condoms in schools has triggered fierce debate in countries like the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia. In France, many state schools already have condom machines.
23 May 2005 20:20:01 GMT Source: Reuters
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