By Terry Vanderheyden

TULUA, Colombia, January 12, 2006 ( – A Colombian town councilman has proposed making condoms mandatory, suggesting that anyone 14 or older who fails to possess at least one condom be subject to a $180 fine.

Tulua Councilman William Pena told the AP that “Sexual relations are going on constantly. If you carry a condom, chances are you’ll use it during the day.” Pena added that “It’s not going to be there forever.”

Tulua has one of the country’s highest AIDS rates, a reason Pena uses to justify the law. Catholic priests in the region, meanwhile, have condemned the idea as laughable. Father Jesus Velasquez said, “I would have to have a condom even though I’m clergy.”

Father Roberto Sarmiento added that “Nobody can force someone to carry a condom in their pocket. They should instead carry the responsibility of what sexual relations mean.”

Studies have shown that condom promotion policies actually increase the spread of AIDS. A Lancet study revealed in 2000 that “vigorous condom-promotion policy could increase rather than decrease unprotected sexual exposure if it has the unintended effect of encouraging greater sexual activity.” The authors of the report wrote that “it is hard to show that condom promotion has had any effect on HIV epidemics.”

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