Brazil Handing Out 89 Million Condoms at Carnival

Brazil's health ministry plans to hand out 89 million free condoms during the Carnival celebrations in Rio De Janeiro, which begins Saturday. The number is 26 million more condoms than were given out last year.

Local news outlets are reporting the reason for this year's jump in condom distribution is the alarming spread of the AIDS virus amongst youth in Brazil, where an estimated 630,000 Brazilians are infected.

Brazil's health minister asked that Brazilians and the 575,000 travelers expected to visit Rio de Janeiro make good use of the free condoms during Carnival, which has a reputation for an atmosphere of casual sex.

Authorities believe approximately 25,000 Brazilians are not even aware they have AIDS. Brazil's health minister publicly underwent an HIV test to show Brazilians it is a quick, easy and confidential process.

"According to past years' statistics, women aged 15 to 24 are most likely to contract AIDS," says a senior health ministry official.

An AIDS prevention campaign about the seriousness of AIDS and how to prevent it will run extensively on television and through Internet advertisements during the holiday, which lasts six days.

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