Free condoms handed out at Rio Carnival

Millions of free condoms are being handed out during the Carnival festivities in Rio de Janeiro to promote safe sex at the event.

Officials announced around three million of the products will be distributed over the five-day spectacular in a bid to prevent the spreading of Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The campaign is aimed at homosexual young men - but anyone wishing to take the prophylactics will be able to collect them free of charge.

Speaking to CNN, Brazilian health minister Alexandre Padilha suggested young people may be less sensitive and aware of the HIV risk than those a little older.

The politician stated: "There is a new generation that has not had the experience of seeing idols who fought at the beginning of the AIDS [epidemic] and who died."

In addition to the condoms, more than 330,000 paper fans carrying information relating to safe sex practices will also be offered out at the gatherings.

Events taking place during the five days include the Parade of the Samba Schools in the Special Group and the Magic Ball at Copacabana Palace Hotel.