U.N. Troops in Africa Will Be Issued Condoms

From The Washington Post

Worried about the threat of AIDS among U.N. peacekeepers, the United Nations has decided to distribute a condom a day to each of the 16,000 male troops it plans to send to Congo and Sierra Leone this year.

The decision is the closest the United Nations has ever come to acknowledging that its troops around the world frequent brothels and are in danger of contracting the AIDS virus, as well as providing a market for prostitution.

Diplomats fear that if peacekeepers are seen to be at risk of contracting AIDS, countries may hesitate to contribute troops, and if they are seen as spreading AIDS, countries may hesitate to accept them.

On Feb. 28, Richard C. Holbrooke, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said Washington would not support any future peacekeeping operations that failed to address the threat of HIV infection.