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Myth: Fishing boats are obliged to carry a minimum stock of 200 condoms to ensure that fishermen have “safe sex”.
Response: There is no EC directive that mentions this alleged obligation. However, from the 1 January 1995, a Council of Ministers Directive will make it compulsory to keep a certain number of medicines aboard ships to provide for the crews’ medical aid requirements.
Reminder: On 4.6.1991 the Health Council (ie Government Ministers) adopted an action plan for the period from 1991 to 1993 within the framework of the “Europe against AIDS” programme (Official Journal LI 75 of 4.7.1991). The programme foresees 10 or so priority actions such as informing the general public, educating young people, research and international cooperation. The priority action No 4, which is aimed at preventing the transmission of the HIV virus, makes provision for the adoption of measures designed to preserve and/or improve the quality of condoms, as well as to exchange information on the promotion of the use of condoms by the general public and by specified targeted groups. As far as the quality of condoms is concerned, the Commission has proposed a 5-page Directive, which covers hundreds of pharmaceutical products, so-called “medical devices”. The Directive specifies the essential requirements which must be observed in order to ensure that the products are safe and not harmful to people’s health. Condoms are one of them. Moreover, at the request of Health Ministers, the Commission has entrusted the European Committee for Standardization with the task of establishing voluntary safety standards for condoms. As far as the promotion of condoms for use by so-called risk-groups is concerned, the 12 Member States have confined themselves to informing each other about their national initiatives.