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Health Secretary: Online porn block, not condoms, will halt the spread of Aids

After scrapping plans to distribute condoms to youngsters, the Department of Health is mulling an internet porn ban in a bid to fight the spread of Aids.

Health Secretary Paulyn Rosell-Ubial has suggested that a blanket pornography block would lead to a decrease in sexual activity among the young, and said she was prepared to support such a move.

Recently, a plan to distribute condoms to sexually-active schoolchildren was scrapped after opposition from conservative politicians and the church.

The plans came after it was revealed that there were 24 new HIV infections recorded per day throughout the month of December. Of those affected, 29 per cent were found to be aged between 15 and 24.

President Duterte has been a keen advocate of distributing condoms, with plans also in place to give them to six million of the nation’s poorest women.

His support for the scheme — shortly after he announced January as “national Bible month” — further muddied the waters of his often fractious relations with the Catholic Church. (Read more here and here.)

Announcing the U-turn on the school distribution scheme, Assistant education Secretary Tonisito Umali said: “We want to be sensitive to what the parents feel and we got the feedback that they don’t agree with the idea.

“Parents think this will send a wrong signal to our students that it’s OK to have premarital sex, to have sex while you’re a minor, so long as you are protected.”

The decision has predictably been welcomed by the church. Father Melvin Castro, an official at the Philippine Bishops’ Conference, said: “Common sense and rational thought demand that we address the issue of teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS rise with proper values education and not with condom use.”

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Following the climbdown, Mrs Ubial has suggested that a porn block could be an alternative scheme. The health secretary believes that access to “malicious materials” could encourage youngsters to have multiple sexual partners and indulge in risky behaviour.

She also said she was considering distributing photographs of people with sexually transmitted diseases as another deterrent.

Any comprehensive porn block would follow the banning of several of the world’s most popular, mainstream adult sites last month. (Read more here.)

The decision to block sites such as Pornhub and Xvideos was described as a bid to prevent child exploitation — however, the site owners say they have zero tolerance of child porn, which is more likely to be found on smaller, less mainstream sites.

The block came just days after it was announced by Pornhub that Filipino users of the site spend more time per visit than any other nationality. (See our report here.)

As our contribution towards spreading the safe sex message, here is stanch Duterte ally and member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, Mocha Uson, demonstrating how to put a condom on using your mouth:

 

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