Friday, March 20, 2009

Pope Under Fire For Asserting Condoms Aggravate AIDS Problem

NY Times: AIDS Agency Takes Issue With the Pope, by Neil MacFarquhar:

Pope The United Nations AIDS agency has joined the chorus of politicians and activists critical of Pope Benedict XVI for saying as he embarked on a tour of Africa this week that condoms “increase the problem” of the disease. With more than 7,400 new infections of H.I.V., which causes AIDS, reported daily, “condoms are an essential part of combination prevention,” the agency, Unaids, said Thursday in a statement issued from its Geneva headquarters. The statement added that the condom was “the single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted infections.” Unaids said it had made strides in getting sexually active young people in many African countries to start using condoms. The pope, who said Mass before some 60,000 people in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on Thursday, had stressed abstinence as the key method to combat AIDS.

Catholics for Choice press release: Pope Not Infallible on Condoms:

The Vatican has yet again been forced to revise statements made by Pope Benedict XVI as he embarked on a foreign trip. En route to Cameroon on March 17, the pope claimed that condom use would "aggravate the problem" of HIV.

A transcript of the pope's comments on the Vatican's Web site altered the comment to suggest that condoms "risked" aggravating the problem.

Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, welcomed the change as a sign that the pope is not infallible on this issue and is willing to acknowledge his mistakes.

"The pope has admitted that he is unsure whether condoms can help alleviate the spread of HIV. Where there is doubt there is freedom and Catholics can make up their own minds whether they use condoms or not. Indeed, the vast majority of Catholics has already made this call and use condoms to protect themselves and their partners against STIs, including HIV.

Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink

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