Women stampeded to get their hands on a box of specially prayed-for condoms at one of 30 year-old pastor Paul Sanyangore’s church services recently, according to website Newzimbabwe.com.

Anointed condoms are causing worry among campaigners in a region where HIV rates are high and misconceptions about Aids are still rife. Delegates at the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA), which ended on Friday, said Sanyangore’s actions were misleading, .

“Please stop praying for the condoms, it misinforms the public and is totally against science.” United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) senior HIV technical advisor Bidia Deperthes was quoted by the private Newsday as saying.

Pastor Sanyangore (right) at Harare conference Thursday. Photo: NewsDay
Pastor Sanyangore (right) at Harare conference Thursday. Photo: NewsDay

But Sanyangore defended his stance, maintaining he only “blessed” the condoms after being asked to do so by a woman whose husband had been apart from her for some time.

“This woman came to a spiritual church and came to me to pray for her condoms. I can only tackle it spiritually,” Sanyangore said.

UNFPA chief of procurement services Eric Dupont said condoms underwent rigorous tests and were safe to use without being prayed for.

“Condoms should not be anointed. It sends a very skewered message,” he said.