The Pope today reignited the controversy over the Catholic church's stance on condom use as he made his first trip to Africa.How did health agencies respond? Graciously, considering the continued harm such attitudes and values promote.
Is it any surprise that the word 'pontificate' has come to mean 'to express opinions or judgments in a pompous way'?
About 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, according to UNAIDS. In 2007, three-quarters of all AIDS deaths worldwide were there, as well as two-thirds of all people living with HIV.
Rebecca Hodes with the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa said if the pope is serious about preventing new HIV infections, he will focus on promoting wide access to condoms and spreading information on how best to use them. “Instead, his opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans,” said Ms. Hodes, director of policy, communication and research for the action campaign.
While she said the pope is correct that condoms are not the sole solution to Africa's AIDS epidemic, she said they are one of the very few HIV prevention mechanisms proven to work. Even some priests and nuns working with those living with HIV/AIDS question the church's opposition to condoms amid the pandemic ravaging Africa.