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Reuters New Media
Ethiopia Marks World AIDS Day with Safe-Sex Warning

December 1, 2000
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Military helicopters flew over Ethiopia's capital on Friday, dropping leaflets encouraging residents to practice safe sex as the country marked World AIDS Day.

The leaflets urged people to abstain from sex before marriage and be faithful to their spouses to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in a country where more than 10 percent of the adult population is already infected.

"It is our responsibility to protect our families, ourselves and our lovers from such a killer disease," the leaflet said. "Marriage has to be one-on-one."

It also encouraged people to use condoms if they have sex with anyone other than their husband or wife.

About 3 million Ethiopians are HIV positive, including 150,000 children. The infection rate in the country's adult population is about 10.6 percent but that rises to an estimated 17 percent in the capital Addis Ababa.

Thousands of students held hands in the capital at noon on Friday, observing a minute's silence to remember the victims of AIDS.