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Experts angry at Aids article

A NTI-Aids workers have been shocked by a Khmer magazine article saying women who

use condoms when having sex increase their risk of developing breast

cancer.

The article - published this month by Chivit Kamsan (Life

Entertainment) - is said to have been translated from a Thai

magazine.

The article quoted a Western doctor as saying that a two-year

long study had found that using condoms did help prevent the spread of Aids, but

also raised women's chances of getting breast cancer by 70-75 per cent. "This is

because the women...cannot get the sperms from the men...therefore they lose the

capacity to prevent breast cancer."

Dr Tea Phalla - head of Cambodia's

Inter-Ministerial Committee for Aids and STD prevention and control - said such

reports were damaging to Aids education programs.

Unlike in developed

countries such as Japan, where people were highly-educated and would ignore such

reports about the dangers of condoms, Cambodians were likely to place too much

emphasis on them.

"People are prompt to do what they should not do and

believe what they should not believe," he said.

Dr Phalla said such

articles discouraged Khmer men, and commercial sex workers, from using

condoms.

He said he was not aware of any women developing cancer because

they used condoms. If there was any firm evidence of this, it would have been

taken into account in condom promotion and Aids education campaigns around the

world.

The article was the latest in a line of unprofessional reporting

by Khmer publications on the Aids issues, he said. Other reports claimed that

Aids was invented to make money for condom manufacturers and that Aids could be

transmitted by mosquitoes. One newspaper had published advertisements for a

"cure" for Aids offered by traditional healers.

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