These countries' leaders blast condom use as dangerous. Their anti-condom rhetoric is bringing down their people and could ultimately hurt the world at large.
Although condoms are openly available throughout the country because of health organizations’ efforts, only 52% of sexually active citizens who are engaging in high-risk sex use condoms. And while the national government is supportive of reproductive health efforts, the measures are much less embraced by certain states of Nigeria. It is illegal to encourage condom use in in southeast Nigeria’s Anambra State, because the fundamentalist leaders believe condoms encourage immorality.
The Philippines’ condom use is one of the lowest in Asia. It is also one of only seven countries globally where HIV cases have risen by 25 percent or more since 2001, according to the UNDP. More than 80% of the population is Catholic, and many sexually active people do not buy condoms or contraceptives because of the shame and the stigma the church associates with condom use. The Catholic Church in the Philippines has waged a war against the president’s efforts to curb HIV/AIDS through free condoms and sex education. The church believes change in lifestyle, not condom usage, will stop the AIDS epidemic in the Philippines.
According to the United Nations, the HIV epidemic in Indonesia is one of the fastest growing in Asia. And over 81% of recent HIV/AIDS cases are the result of unprotected sex, mostly with commercial sex workers. Health Minister Nafsiah Mbo said that with increased awareness of condom usage, infection rates would decrease. However, whenever someone brings up sex education in Indonesia, he or she is scolded by Muslim leaders. Mboi was summoned to parliament following accusations by conservative Muslim groups that her condom message was dangerous because it promoted promiscuity. One government agency wanted to ban selling condoms to teenagers altogether.
Former President Frederick Chiluba once said, "I don't believe in condoms because it is a sign of weak morals on the part of the user." His comment is an example of the extreme Christian ideologies that rule this nation. This anti-condom rhetoric is one of the many reasons more than one in every seven adults has HIV/AIDS in Zambia. HIV/AIDS is growing among bi-sexual and gay men. Same sex relations in Zambia are punishable with up to 15 years in prison, causing the men to hide their sexuality and sexual health. One study concluded that nine out of 10 men who engaged in same-sex relations were unaware that condoms prevented HIV/AIDS during anal sex.