Wednesday, October 24, 2007

UNAIDS goes head-to-head with Catholic Church

Reuters reported this story yesterday:

Global Challenges | Catholic Church's Opposition to Condom Use Contributes to Spread of HIV in Latin America, UNAIDS Official Says
[Oct 24, 2007]

The Roman Catholic Church's opposition to condom use is contributing to the spread of HIV in Latin America, Alberto Stella -- UNAIDS coordinator for Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica -- said on Monday, Reuters reports.

"In Latin America, the use of condoms has been demonized, but if they were used in every relation, I guarantee the epidemic would be resolved in the region," Stella said. He added that youth "start to be sexually active between 15 and 19 without sex education" -- a factor that contributes to the spread of HIV. In addition, evidence indicates that promoting abstinence is "not working," according to Stella.

About half of the 1.1 billion Catholics worldwide live in Latin America, and the Roman Catholic Church "holds sway" in the region, Reuters reports. About 1.7 million people in Latin America are living with HIV/AIDS. The number of new HIV cases in the region increased to 410,000 in 2006 from 320,000 in 2004, according to UNAIDS (Reuters, 10/23).

1 comment:

  1. Patrick DerrOctober 26, 2007

    Non-catholic critics seem to imagine that there is a strange kind of catholic, common in developing countries, who rejects 99% of the church's teachings on sexuality (e.g., re/ pre- and extra-marital sex), but who becomes heroically compliant on the single issue of condom use. I must say, I have never met such a catholic. Certainly in developed countries, it is quite the reverse: most catholics reject church doctrine on birth control and gay marriage, e.g., but accept church teaching on adultery and prostitution. So I don't really understand most of what is written about the "Catholics and Condoms" thing.

    I wonder if there is any good epidemiological data on HIV prevalence by religious affiliation in countries with conveniently mixed populations, like Nigeria?

    - Patrick

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