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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Vatican and AIDS

Several people have criticized the musican Bob Geldhof for his invitation to Pope Benedict to appear at the Live 8 conference to benefit Africa. They are repeating the same tired accusations that the Vatican opposition to the use of condoms is detrimental to the prevention of AIDS in Africa.

The tragedy is that it is only in Uganda which has instituted an active program for the promotion of abstinence and not condom distribution that the percentage of people with AIDS has declined. However in those countries that have adopted massive condom distribution there has been no noticable diminishment of the high incidence of the disease. This is because the distribution of condoms doesn't prevent AIDS. Condoms are 90% effective, but are not 10% of the time. And despite the problem of engaging in a behavior which can be life-threatening 10% of the time, the distribution of condoms generates a false sense of security rather than making sexual activity safer.

Therefore, the opponents of Vatican policy are in fact only keeping the AIDS rate in Africa at its astronomical rates.

The root problem of these opponents is a failure to recognize that the Vatican policy is rooted in a desire to be as supportive of life as possible. Opponents can only percieve Vatican policy as an attack on sex.


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