South Africa church slams condom use

  1. S.Africa church slams condom use



    From CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman



    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) -- Promoting condoms has failed to stem the spread of AIDS and may have increased promiscuity, the Roman Catholic Church in South Africa said on Wednesday, sparking criticism from AIDS activists.

    Cardinal Wilfred Napier said there was simply no evidence that promoting condoms had worked, citing the fact that as a contraceptive, they come with a failure rate which implies they probably do not always stop HIV transmission.

    "Can you show me one example where condoms have stopped the spread of AIDS?," he said in a telephone interview. "If you look at South Africa, millions have been spent promoting condoms and we have one of the highest rates in the world. By promoting condoms we are promoting immoral behavior."

    Activists say some 600 people die every day from AIDS in South Africa and the surrounding region has the world's highest HIV infection rates.

    But Napier said promiscuity was even more damaging to society than the pandemic.

    South African AIDS lobby the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said the cardinal's comments undermined attempts to encourage the use of condoms -- still resisted by many African men.

    "This is ideologically based, morally judgemental wishful thinking. It's totally impractical to expect all people to abstain. The reason the program in South Africa has been a disaster is we've been too insipid in talking about sex and promoting condoms," TAC spokesman Nathan Geffen said.

    Education success

    On Saturday, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the Vatican's opposition to all forms of contraception.

    Napier said the only country to show success against AIDS was Uganda, which promoted abstinence rather than condoms.

    "If we look at the one example of success we have which is Uganda then there is a clear message that it was a return to moral values that has halted the disease," he said. "Where condoms have been promoted, we have not seen the effect we've seen in Uganda."

    The Ugandan government has made condom distribution a mainstay of its efforts to fight AIDS.

    But spokesman for United Nations body UNAIDS Richard Delate said Uganda's success had come from promoting abstinence in tandem with condom usage. In other countries, condom promotion had stopped the spread of AIDS, he said.

    "If you look at the example of places like Thailand, where there has been condom promotion for a long time, then they have kept their HIV rate under control," he said. "It's important that people have a choice. At no point should people try to prevent people having access to condoms."

    Giving young people sex education delayed the onset of sexual activity and made children more likely to use condoms when they did start having sex, he said.

    In any case, there are so few condoms in sub-Saharan Africa the average man only has access to three a year, UNAIDS says.

    However, Napier said anecdotal evidence suggested teaching children about condoms encouraged them to have sex.

    "This is a devastating disease," Napier said.

    "You've got to challenge where the problem lies and that is in practicing irresponsible behavior."





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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   BeachNurse
    While condoms MAY be distributed in Africa, they are not widely used. I know first-hand that Americans have gone in and tried to donate condoms, as well as anti-HIV meds only to be turned away by government officials. It's a sad state of affairs.
  4. by   fergus51
    I find it sad the church cares more about doctrine than lives. Most Africans have no access to condoms, AIDS spreads like wildfire and their reasoning is that condoms can't prevent the spread of HIV?
  5. by   URO-RN
    The guy in this article is a
    Last edit by Jo Anne on Jan 27, '05
  6. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from fergus51
    I find it sad the church cares more about doctrine than lives. Most Africans have no access to condoms, AIDS spreads like wildfire and their reasoning is that condoms can't prevent the spread of HIV?
    Yes. And if they would listen,they would see that condoms can save lives.
  7. by   fergus51
    Quote from BeachNurse
    Yes. And if they would listen,they would see that condoms can save lives.
    One of the worst things I have seen was a program on french tv showing that the church actually lies and discourages condom use where HIV+ people have access to them. The church was telling them that there are holes in the latex so the virus can get through, therefore there is no point in using them. I've completely stopped giving to catholic charities working overseas when they come to collect at my door.
  8. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from fergus51
    One of the worst things I have seen was a program on french tv showing that the church actually lies and discourages condom use where HIV+ people have access to them. The church was telling them that there are holes in the latex so the virus can get through, therefore there is no point in using them. I've completely stopped giving to catholic charities working overseas when they come to collect at my door.
    I have heard that too.

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