Brazil Guarantees: There Will Be Free Condoms for All This Carnaval

2003 Brazilian government campaign to use condom during Carnaval Anyone who needs will have guaranteed his right to a condom during the Brazilian Carnaval, which starts Friday, February 1st. And who guarantees that is Brazil's Health minister, José Gomes Temporão, who talked to reporters during a press conference to the radio stations that belong to the EBC (Brazil Communication Corporation), an organ from the federal government.

The minister made a point to stress that the whole health network in Brazil had been instructed to hand out condoms to anyone who asks for them.

NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) in recent days had complained that there were not enough condoms to go on and that there were cases like in Salvador, capital of Bahia state, where homosexuals had been barred from getting the male contraceptives.

"We have distributed 20 million condoms for Carnaval. We will distribute 600 million male contraceptives this year. We made a purchase of 1 billion condoms, which is going to insure that people can access the product regularly. The government vouches for the distribution," said Temporão.

"The condoms are already in the states and capitals. Yesterday I talked to Salvador's Health secretary. And everybody should rest assured that the condoms will be made available not only during Carnaval, but throughout the whole year," the minister added.

Temporão once again regretted the position taken by the Catholic Archdiocese of Recife and Olinda, which went to court to try to prevent the distribution of the morning-after pill in the state of Pernambuco. The Catholic Church lost its case.

"The morning-after pill is an emergency medication to be used only in cases of extreme necessity. But science has already shown that this is not an abortive pill. The morning-after pill prevents fecundation and I believe women have the right to get this medication," the minister insisted.

The Health minister said that he considered the Catholic Church's stand inadequate, but he recognized that the polemic was absolutely understandable as an issue of public health.

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