Thursday, 8 March 2018

Court rules Condom Ads must state "it’s not 100% safe, total abstinence or faithfulness is the best option”

A Lagos High Court has ruled that condom advertisements must have the Health Risk Warning Clause of Advertisement Professionals Council of Nigeria (APCON) that “Condom is not 100 per cent safe. Total abstinence or faithfulness is the best option”.

According to THISDAY, the judgement, which was delivered by Justice Taofiquat Oyekan-Abdullahi, was the outcome of the mutual agreement for the two parties to the suit.

The Incorporated Trustees of the Project for Human Development (PHD) had filed a suit against the Incorporated Trustees for Society for Family Health (SFH), asking the court to declare that the advertisement of the ‘Gold Circle’ condom by SFH in a national newspaper without the Health Risk Warning is illegal and unconstitutional, saying it is contrary to article 49 of the APCON laws, Sections 17, 37, 38, 39 (3), 45 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 17, 18 27 and 29 of the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights (Ratification Enforcement) Act, CAP 10.

The applicant contended that the way condoms are advertised in Nigeria and elsewhere, gives the misleading impression that condoms are 100 per cent safe/effective.

According to the applicant, the statements that condoms offer “maximum protection” and that “Condoms protect both of you against infections…” are false.

“The “warning” sign reproduced below which has been put out by Rubber Chemistry and Technology, Washington, D.C., United States, since June 1992, but has remained unchallenged to date.

“If there are no holes in condoms, why would the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insist that manufacturers test for holes in condoms and consequently sets an Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) that if up to four condoms have holes in a batch of 1,000, the batch will be allowed to pass.

“Condoms, in addition to having possible manufacturing defects, could undergo deterioration during shipping, handling and storage, and even further degradation after purchase by the end user.

“To a greater or lesser degree, factors such as the following have been proposed as possibly contributing to the degradation of latex (and thus to condom failure): exposure to sunlight, heat (including body heat when placed in pockets or wallets), humidity, pressure, certain spermicides and even to atmospheric ozone (2).

“Besides, the condom may still suffer last-minute physical damage immediately prior to or during actual use, such as contact with pointed or sharp objects including fingernails and rings.

“From the above documented facts, it is very clear that the AIDS virus can pass through the latex membrane and it has also scientifically been proven that the AIDS virus does pass through the latex membrane,” the applicant argued.

Delivering the judgement, Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi also ordered that condom advertisements should only be aired between 6AM and 8PM on radio and between 6PM and 10PM on television henceforth.

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