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
The article - published this month by Chivit Kamsan (Life
Entertainment) - is said to have been translated from a Thai
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
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
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.