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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 12:10 GMT
Zambia 'bans' condoms in schools
Zambian Aids orphans
More than half of Zambia's population is under the age of 20
Zambia has banned the distribution of condoms in schools as a measure to counter the spread of Aids.

Education Minister Andrew Mulenga said condoms were encouraging young people to have premarital sex.

The directive contradicts the health ministry's campaign against the disease within educational institutions and has been condemned by activists.

Some 120,000 Zambians die from Aids each year, according to United Nations figures.


Mr Mulenga said students should be advised to abstain from sex as a measure to fight the disease instead of being urged to use condoms which promote immorality.

A BBC correspondent in Lusaka, says the health ministry has been working with non-governmental organisations in awareness campaigns where condoms are distributed to students.

Condoms are freely available in some schools in Zambia.

Zambian Aids sufferer in hospital
Anti-Aids campaigners have denounced the directive
Anti-aids activists who have been distributing the condoms have denounced the government announcement.

"We can't continue living in denial. We need to protect the young from this deadly disease," Prof Nkandu Luo, a former health minister turned Aids activist told AFP news agency.

Zambia is one of the countries in southern African most seriously affected by the disease.

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