18 Jul 2008

American Samoan bishop upset over festival condoms

12:43 pm on 18 July 2008

The Catholic Church in American Samoa has objected to the inclusion of condoms in first aid kits which will be handed out to those attending the Pacific Arts Festival.

The local head of the church, Bishop John Quinn Weitzel, has written to the co-chair of the Festival Committee, Leala Elisara, telling her it is an affront to those who maintain that the use of condoms is not to be encouraged.

The Medical Director of the Department of Health Dr Ivan Tuliau says while he understands the church leader's position, the experience from the last festival in Palau is the reason the safe-sex campaign is being pursued.

He says after the 2004 festival, Palau experienced a dramatic increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

He says the condoms are not conspicuous.