In pictures: Thai condoms for Valentine's Day

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Media captionTwo Thai teenagers and a monk give their views on sex

For many young Thais, Valentine's Day is an occasion to lose their virginity. This year, they are being urged to visit temples instead.

Thailand has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world: 54 out of 1,000 girls aged 15-19 give birth each year, according to the Public Health Ministry.

Valentine's Day, a Western import, is increasingly popular in Thailand - one way school pupils mark it is by sticking hearts to their shirts.

This year, in addition to exhortations to visit temples, public health officials are distributing piles of condoms at health clinics and hospitals in the capital Bangkok.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Students mark Valentine's day by sticking hearts on their shirts
Image caption Distributing condoms costs the Thai government $150,000 per year

"If kids really love each other, it's better for them to go and free birds and fish or go to the temple," Pirapong Saicheua, an official of the city authority, told Reuters news agency.

Thailand is notorious as a destination for sex tourism. Despite this, it remains a conservative country.

Image caption Public health workers are helping distribute condoms

Out of 1,824 people infected with HIV in the Bangkok metropolitan area in 2014, more than half - 55.4% - are under 25.

The distribution of 3.5 million condoms costs around 5 million baht ($150,000; £100,000) for the year, including Valentine's Day.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Despite being a Western festival, Valentine's Day is becoming increasingly popular in Thailand

As part of the campaign, the culture ministry's Moral Promotion Centre launched a new slogan: "Just a Meal for Valentine's Day", urging teenagers to go home separately after a dinner date. Those who choose to get married around Valentine's Day - like the couples below - are presumably exempt from such strictures.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Newlyweds celebrate in western Thailand

Video produced by Katewadee Kulabkeaw

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