The Pope Wades Into The Condom/HIV Controversy

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, lately stirred up a bit of controversy more than statements he produced about condom use and their function in the plan to control the horrific spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

The Pope was on his way to Cameroon and Angola which are component of sub-Sahara Africa exactly where it is estimated that 22 million men and women presently are infected with the HIV virus.

Social workers and aid agencies, as properly as significant organizations such as the UN have been promoting condom use as a way to quit the spread of HIV/AIDs. So it comes as a bit of a shock to hear an individual as influential as the Pope recommend the technique is flawed.

Everybody knows that the Catholic Church is officially against the use of condoms as a method of birth handle. But in this case the Pope’s comments had been aimed at the notion that condom use is an successful weapon against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In other words, he was questioning the science behind the method. He was suggesting that condoms may possibly do more harm than great.

His actual words, according to 1 report had been that “a tragedy that cannot be overcome by cash alone, that can not be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the difficulties”.

This might sound like a shocking denunciation of a policy that has widespread acceptance around the globe. But the fact is, it is completely constant with the normal Catholic position on such matters.

The Church has usually taught that the very best way to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS (or unwanted pregnancy for that matter) is by encouraging sexual abstinence and fidelity between sexual partners.

Of course this Pope could not leave it at that. The bit about “aggravating” the issue by distributing condoms tends to make it sound like he was saying, “Handing out condoms promotes promiscuity, and that leads to an even greater infection rate.”

Regardless of whether this generally old-fashioned sounding message has any relevance in a location like sub-Sahara Africa is one more matter. There are actual issues on the ground that have to be dealt with – millions of people with HIV/AIDS who are spreading the disease to others.

It sounds rather unrealistic to recommend this will change merely by encouraging people to modify their lives. The spread of the illness is not going to wait for people to alter their morality.

Take the ever-present sex workers, for example, and the guys who use their solutions. Sex workers have been one particular of the major techniques the virus has spread. Man sleeps with prostitute. Man gets infected. Man sleeps with wife. Man infects wife.

Is the Pope suggesting that men who use prostitutes want to modify their moral values? Does it imply that, rather than distributing condoms to people in danger of infecting other folks, social workers need to focus on promoting life-style alterations?

Or need to they devote their time and energy dealing with the present reality? Undertaking things like educating individuals about the value of protection is a very good place to start off. One more is encouraging sex workers not to have sex with males who won’t use a condom.

On the other hand, the Pope has a point. Even an individual as properly-placed as the director of Harvard university’s HIV Prevention Study Project, Dr. Edward Green, has said “there is not a single country in Africa exactly where HIV prevalence has come down mostly simply because of condoms.”

According to Green the only countries where HIV is decreasing are these where fewer guys and females are reporting getting sex with much more than 1 companion. In other words, countries where there is greater abstinence and fidelity are generating progress against HIV.

To take it one particular step further, according to Green research have shown that the men and women utilizing condoms in specific African nations are those engaging in risky sexual behavior. He also claims that men and women who have greater access to condoms also tend to have far more than one sex companion.

So there is no easy straightforward solution to this issue. Yes, the longer term objective should be to encourage less promiscuity and more faithfulness between sexual partners.

But in the face of a crushing epidemic, short term measures have to be promoted as effectively. The widespread use of condoms certainly seems like 1 of them.

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