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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 17:42 GMT
Colombia plans teenage condom law
Teenagers with condoms
Some say carrying a condom should be left as a personal decision
Colombian teenagers could be forced to carry condoms in an effort to stop unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

The man proposing the scheme says people over the age of 14 in the town of Tulua should carry condoms, just as they carry ID cards, or face a fine.

"The measure does not force anyone to have sex, but to protect themselves," Councillor William Pena told El Tiempo.

But a local priest has compared the scheme to "selling guns on the street".

Last year, 14 people died in Tulua due to sexually transmitted diseases.

This shows an increase of 50% from 2003, according to figures published by the daily.

"This is a country with a lot of sexual activity and Tulua is no exception," Mr Pena told El Tiempo.

Moral question

Father Jesus Velasquez, however, describes the proposals as absurd.

It is ridiculous to force teenagers to carry condoms. Shall we force them to have sex next, just to make sure they are using them correctly?
Rory, Giessen, Germany

"It would be like selling guns on the streets," he said. "What is needed is education and respect for moral and Christian values."

The scheme, which has yet to be formally proposed, has had a mixed support from officials and elsewhere.

Fifteen-year-old Luis Enrique Llanos believes the measure could be arbitrary.

"A repressive measure won't do any good," he told El Tiempo. "It's a personal responsibility whether to carry a condom or not. Not everyone over 14 is having sex."

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