HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

AIDS Update

As many of you are aware, last week the Vatican announced that it would study whether condoms may be condoned because they prevent the spread of serious diseases. This move has been lauded by some in the church, and has been advocated most particularly by Cardinal Martini.  According to the Toronto Star:

In an interview with the Italian weekly l'Espresso, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini called such condom use a "lesser evil" among couples in which one partner has HIV/AIDS that could be passed to the other.

"Of course we must do every thing we can to fight AIDS," Martini said. Married couples, he said, have a responsibility to protect each other."Therefore, using a condom would be considered a minor sin and in particular in the case of married couples where the use of a prophylactic would protect the partner and ultimately themselves."The statement is in direct contradiction to the Vatican's position, which holds that condoms should never be used, even to stop AIDS spreading from one married partner to another. Last year, shortly after being named to the position, Pope Benedict XVI also said condoms should not be used to prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa, where most of the world's AIDS deaths occur. The Pope said fidelity and abstinence were the only way to tackle the disease. "The traditional teaching of the church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS," Benedict said last June during a meeting with African bishops.Martini, considered at the time as a close runner-up in last year's papal election, appeared to break with the Vatican on this issue as well.

This annoucement may be of interest to the authors of an interesting and well written new article, entitled, "AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Legal Rights: Local Strategies for a Global Disease" by Tapen Sinha, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Division of Actuarial Science, Statistics and Mathematics; University of Nottingham - Nottingham University Business School, and Bradley J. Condon, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Administracion; Bond University School of Law April 2006, explores prevention and treatment efforts in the fight against AIDS. 

Here is the brief abstract:   

AIDS is a global disease. Prevention, treatment and human rights protection must all form part of any comprehensive AIDS strategy.

Prevention, treatment and human rights protection are inter-related issues. For example, the rights of women affect their ability to use prevention strategies. Moreover, the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, together with a lack of legal protection against discrimination, may deter people from seeking testing and treatment. Prevention, treatment and human rights strategies must also be adapted to suit the conditions in different parts of the globe. Variations in cultural values, affected groups, infection rates, legal systems, economic resources, and human resources mean that HIV/AIDS must be considered in specific contexts.

This paper examines the use and absence of these three strategies in different regional contexts in developing and developed countries: South Africa, Brazil, Thailand, Japan and Australia. We examine AIDS strategies from a multidisciplinary perspective that considers legal issues, political issues, and demographic issues.

The entire article is available here:

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