September 26, 2007 / 10:43 PM / 10 years ago

European condoms AIDS-tainted: Mozambique bishop

MAPUTO (Reuters) - The head of the Catholic church in Mozambique said on Wednesday he believed some European-made condoms were deliberately tainted with the HIV/AIDS virus to kill African people.

“I know of two countries in Europe who are making condoms with (the) virus on purpose, they want to finish with African people as part of their program to colonize the continent,” Archbishop Francisco Chimoio told Reuters.

”If we are not careful we will finish in one century.

“I also know some companies who are manufacturing anti-retroviral drugs already infected with the virus, also in order to finish quickly the African people”, Chimoio said.

He declined to name the European countries in question or the source of his allegations.

The Catholic Church, followed by 17 percent of Mozambique’s population, opposes the use of condoms.

“People must choose what they want between death and I propose to them that (abstinence) is the best way to fight HIV/AIDS,” Chimoio said.

More than 16 percent of Mozambique’s 19 million people, mostly economically active adults aged between 14 and 49, are infected with HIV/AIDS. About 500 infections are recorded every day, according to the health department.

Diogo Milagre, deputy executive chairman of Mozambique’s National Council for the Fight Against AIDS, said the government’s efforts to combat the scourge were hampered by a struggling health infrastructure and staff shortages.

“Now over 50 percent of Mozambique’s hospital beds are occupied by AIDS patients while infections are sky-rocketing (but) we haven’t lost the battle yet as we are now changing our approach,” he said, declining to comment on Chimoio’s charges.

“We need to study this phenomenon very carefully particularly cultural aspects with we believe are fuelling infections on several fronts at once,” Milagre said.

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