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UK govt's condom campaign sparks row

world Updated: Mar 20, 2009 22:49 IST

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A row has erupted in Britain over the government's new campaign to encourage young women to carry condoms, with Labour ministers being accused of promoting promiscuity.

The 5.2 pound million publicity drive by the UK Department of Health tells women that men are attracted to females who carry contraceptives.

The campaign labelled, "Condom confidence boosts sex appeal", advises that "men like nothing better than a woman who knows what she wants", the Daily Telegraph reported on Friday.

The campaign launched by health minister Dawn Primarolo also gives tips to young women on how to persuade their partners to use condoms.

Recommended phrases include "If you make it clean, I'll make it dirty" and "Let's get you ready for the ride of your life", the report said. Women are told that they are no longer regarded as "easy" for carrying a condom.

"Taking a condom on a night out should be as normal as taking a phone, keys and purse," Cosmopolitan magazine writer Sarah Hedley, brought in to speak for the campaign, is quoted as saying by the British daily.

"There has never been a better time for women to be condom confident and enjoy a healthy, active sex life," she said.

However, Conservative lawmaker Julian Brazier, while accepting condoms have some role to play in fighting sexually-transmitted infections, said "it is very sad that the authors of this document do not seem to understand that the problem starts with growing levels of sexual activity by people with multiple partners."

"This campaign is contributing to the further growth of the problem rather than to public health," the Tory MP underlined.

Patricia Morgan, author of studies of teenage pregnancy, said the campaign was like notices on girls foreheads "saying they are available".

"You could hardly do more to encourage promiscuity. It is close to asking girls to go about the place with notices on their foreheads saying they are available," Morgan said.