Condom machines are to be installed in every secondary school to combat the spread of AIDS.

The decision was made at a meeting between the country's parent-teacher association and the education minister Francis Bayrou in Paris last week.

Six out of 10 French lycees already have condom-dispensers. Machines will be placed in all remaining schools over the next two months, an education ministry spokesman said. "If teenagers will have sex, we want to ensure it is safe sex and stop the spread of the AIDS virus," he added.

But the move has displeased church leaders. A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: "Perhaps with more moral guidance, pupils could be taught to resist sexual intercourse until they have left school and got married."

The machines will sell condoms at around half of shop prices.

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