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article imageOp-Ed: Pope Benedict tells Africans condoms increase HIV problems

By KJ Mullins     Mar 17, 2009 in World
Pope Benedict XVI is telling his faithful in Africa, where HIV is rampant, that condoms are not the answer. The head of the Catholic church is now dividing even the clergy with his outrageous statements.
For the first time in his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has commented on condoms. His comments, however, are shocking and could hurt efforts to curb the HIV virus in Africa.
As the Toronto Star reports:
"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane headed to Yaounde, Cameroon, where he will begin a seven-day pilgrimage on the continent. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."
The Vatican says sexual abstinence is the only way to fight the spread of HIV.
Benedict's first papal visit to the continent will be to Cameroon and Angola.
The Pope's comments are the exact opposite of reality. Reality is the only means of protection from the HIV virus during sexual intercourse is a condom. While not the only way to fight HIV, condoms are one of the few ways that work.
The Chronicle Reports:
“Instead, his opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans,” said Rebecca Hodes with the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa.
Telling a continent where more than 22 million people are suffering, dying and infecting others not to use a condom is akin to playing Russian roulette with the masses.
Nuns and priests working with HIV know better. They have had to struggle with the church's stance on condoms. In the end, life wins that struggle.
For a religious head to tell his flock not to protect themselves simply because it is also a means of birth control is disgusting. For a man who has not bothered to tour the areas where HIV has devastated to place judgments is even worse. This is the first trip he's taken to Africa. He's been the pope for four years.
It's widely known that the Catholic Church is against birth control and premarital sex. That is all well and good but to undermine the realities of a disease that is leaving millions dead is just short of criminal.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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