Chile: Giant Santiago condom 'to combat teen pregnancy'

A giant condom erected in the Chilean capital Santiago Image copyright Twitter/@catutro

A giant condom has been built in the middle of a suburb in the Chilean capital of Santiago, as part of a sex education campaign launched by the local mayor.

The fluorescent green structure stands 12m (40ft) high in La Florida, and the centre-right mayor Rodolfo Carter says it's meant to help tackle sexually transmitted diseases and high levels of unwanted teenage pregnancy, the Santiago Times reports. Carter told the La Segunda website that 17% of pregnancies in the district involve women under the age of 19. The incidence of teenage pregnancy in La Florida is double the rate in wealthier neighbourhoods, he says.

Previous safe sex campaigns haven't been popular with Carter's socially conservative Independent Democratic Union (UDI). But the mayor insists there's no conflict with traditional values. "This isn't a moral issue or attention seeking," he said on Monday, "The condom seeks to shake up people's consciences and get us working on practical solutions." The social media reaction has been generally positive, although one user commented: "What's next, a flying sperm over Santiago?"

Carter's safe sex campaign isn't the only part of his agenda likely to raise eyebrows with conservatives - he's also planning to create a cannabis plantation for La Florida cancer patients. He has asked President Michelle Bachelet to take marijuana off Chile's list of hard drugs.

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