Changes to how condoms can be advertised on television may help fight HIV, charities have said.

The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice announced today that condom advertising will be allowed before the 9pm watershed.

Condom adverts will be allowed at any time but will not be permitted around programmes aimed at children under ten.

The move was recommended by the government’s Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV, which said that advertising the contraceptive method on television may cut teenage pregnancies.

Deborah Jack, the chief executive of National AIDS Trust, said: “It is good news that the ban of advertising condoms on television before 9pm has been lifted.

“Condoms are the most effective way of protecting against HIV transmission when having sex. Over 7,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2008 so increasing education about safer sex is important.

“It makes sense that condom adverts will be allowed to be shown in the early evening at the same time as soaps, such as Hollyoaks, which include storylines about sexual relationships and HIV.”

Carl Burnell, chief executive at GMFA, the gay men’s health charity, added: “This shouldn’t just be about reducing pregnancies.

“Condom-use is a central sexual health and HIV prevention message and needs to reach those most in need, particularly gay men. In that respect, we welcome the relaxing of the rules.

“However, commercial adverts promoting brands aren’t enough. Of more importance is making sure men receive the information and support they need to protect themselves and their partners.”

Other changes will see tougher action on television adverts which promote violent video games or products make spurious claims about products being environmentally friendly.

The new advertising code will come into force on September 1st.